Saturday, April 15, 2017
Dancing My Way Through the Golden Years
One of my various regrets is not taking up dancing in any concerted fashion during my first sixty years or so. Katja and I started doing ballroom dance classes at the start of the new millenium, and it was a revelation. Then, when I retired, I joined my Tuesday night line dancing class, and that’s become the high point of my week. We got a new instructor in January, and she’s been posting YouTube videos of various dance numbers (e.g., My Pretty Belinda). The videos have led me to practice a lot more during the week. At first I was doing this in front of the computer on our second floor, but Katja complained that I was shaking the pot holder that’s mounted to our kitchen ceiling. So I moved my practice sessions downstairs to the foyer, playing music from the Solid Gold Oldies channel on our cable TV.
Our fitness center also offers Zumba classes, and I’ve had my eye on that for some time. I’ve been nervous about it though. Finally I asked Google: “Should I do zumba if I’m quite old?” Google’s first piece of medical advice was a blurb about an 86-year-old great grandmother who does zumba every morning. That was definitely reassuring, and, when Katja went to a fancy party last week, I decided I should try the 7 p.m. Zumba class. I told the instructor that it was my first class and I wasn’t sure I would stay the whole time. He said that I should take a break whenever I felt like it. There was only one other man in the class (one of my line dancing compatriots), and a majority of the women looked to be in their thirties or forties. I did stick it out for the full class. It is much more aerobic than line dancing, and I worked up a good sweat. I was pretty awkward and confused compared to my experienced classmates, but I was able to follow the movements enough that it gave me hope. I plan to go back next week.
The dinner party that Katja went to while I was zumba-ing was one we were both invited to, but I talked my way out of it. It was in the fanciest section of town and was held in honor of the new music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Music Orchestra. It sounded overwhelming to me. Katja was sad and hurt that I didn’t want to go, but she RSVP’d for just herself. It turned out to be lots of wealthy philanthropic supporters of the Symphony and the Opera. Katja, who does substantially better at most social occasions than I do, had a good time. She said afterwards that it would have been awful for me. I think she was sympathetic to my social deficiencies.
Along with line dancing, my poetry writing class takes up a chunk of my spare time each week. We get a homework assignment each Tuesday, and I work on it all week long, usually writing two or three poems instead of the single poem that is assigned. I owe my poetry writing style to Miss Herscheid’s fourth grade class at Washington Grade School. We learned to write poems in rhyme and end each poem with the phrase, “The End”. I’m the only person in my current class who writes all his poems in rhyme with a fixed meter (or rhythm). In fact, as far as I can tell from reading lots of contemporary poems on the Internet, I’m the only person in the world who writes rhyming poems (except for children’s authors who are inspired by Dr. Seuss’s style). Hopeful of expanding my repertoire, I’m currently trying to write a poem in free verse about “Being a Yooper.” I have to admit that composing in free verse is much more free-flowing than my struggles to create rhymes. But I’m sure that either method keeps blood circulating in my brain.
I was working on my Yooper poem several days ago when all of a sudden our newish Mac computer went blooey. The word-processing screen is normally white, but now it was alternating between green, blue, and lavender, and all of the visual images that appeared on the screen were mottled and distorted. I went into a state of shock, attributing the problem to powerful viruses. I checked with a knowledgeable friend, and she said it sounded like to monitor was dying. Fortunately Katja had bought an extended service contract, and I called the Apple support number. The technician had me try several things with the keyboard and the power button, but none of them seemed to help. He finally scheduled an appointment for me to bring the machine into the store. An hour later, however, all the problems disappeared. I didn’t know if the technician’s suggestions had solved the problem, but I’m relieved and am holding my breath.
We’ve been watching a lot more TV since late January. I think it’s a matter of retreating into fantasy in order to escape from horrifying political news. Nonetheless, we seem to be drawn to hair-raising politically-oriented programs involving Washington dysfunction, conspiracies, Middle Eastern and domestic terrorists, Russian spies, and national catastrophes. Our favorites are Homeland, Designated Survivor, The Americans, and 24 Legacy. All of these programs have become jumbled together in my mind, and I can’t keep straight which good guys go with which bad guys (or even who the good guys are). It’s like there is just one single program: “24 American Homeland Survivor.” I do have to say that these fictional events are more dramatic than our relatively mundane lives.
That’s all the news from Ludlow Ave. It’s a beautiful spring day, and I’m going to go and get some Fitbit points.