Here are two facts about me. I’d call them “fun” but that seems a stretch:
- I never go dancing.
- I don’t like country music.
But for some reason, I have long had a fascination with line dancing…which pretty much requires country music. I can’t see line dancing to AC/DC or Elton John, but Brooks & Dunn or Brooks, Garth? That’s another story. Rapid City has a free concert series every Thursday during the summer called Summer Nights. They block off one of the main streets downtown, set up a stage, and sell food and drinks. It’s always a great way to enjoy good music, people watch, and get a little buzzed.
Frequently, the performers are country bands, and just as frequently, people in the crowd start line dancing in the street. I love watching them! One time last summer, three Cheladas in, I told Tara, “We should take line dancing lessons!” She nodded her head and said “sure,” which was slightly less placating than a pat on the back.
When those words came out of my mouth I looked around, wondering who had spoken them. Surely not me. I don’t dance. Some people “trip the light fantastic” but I am more likely to “trip, under the light, spastic” if I even attempt a move. People who stumble their way across the dance floor are described as having two left feet. I am so clumsy and lacking in rhythm, I have at least three feet, I swear.
And yet, last Sunday, I found myself line dancing in the living room. Granted, there was no line because it was just me, but you gotta start somewhere, right? (That’s the best part about line dancing—seeing the crowd move together in syncopated rhythm.) They say the secret to learning how to dance is to watch the performers’ feet. Easier said than done in some cases, ’cause I sure as hell am not looking at a bellydancer’s feet. But in line dancing, this makes sense. So, over the weekend, I found a short six-minute YouTube video that provided instruction on a basic line dance routine called the cowboy hustle. Watched it over and over again for an hour, practicing the moves until I mastered them. Which, given my three point seven left feet (this is what I have settled on), was surprisingly easy. And then I switched to music…actual country music (who the hell am I?!)…and practiced some more.
I swear, only a pandemic would persuade me to teach myself line dancing. I’m now wondering what other skills I can learn on YouTube while everything is closed, postponed, or cancelled and there is nothing else to do. Maybe I can learn how to build a birdhouse or cook a cheese soufflé.
Or maybe I’ll take a crack at some great unsolved math problem, like the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, which has stumped the world’s greatest thinkers for 20 years. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but just in case, it’s that old chestnut that describes the set of rational solutions to equations defining an elliptic curve.
Easy-peasy, right? The Clay Mathematics Institute is offering a $1,000,000 prize for the first correct proof. I could stimulate the hell out of the economy with that kind of dough, so why not?
Then again, I “passed” basic geometry with a D, and only because the curve was so steep it makes the Rambo ski run at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado, with its 55-degree pitch and eight-foot vertical jump turns, look like a walk in the part.
On second thought, I think I’ll stick to boot scootin’ boogiein’.