Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Tango in Toronto

It's not as sexy as Sleepless in Seattle. Or maybe I should have more accurately named this post '"Last Dancer in Toronto". Yes, I admit it, I am one of those people who stands on the subway platform, plugged into my iPod, dancing. You know the ones - the ones everyone thinks are crazy.

But what is so crazy about enjoying yourself? People, in general, don't enjoy themselves enough. Not enough fun, too much work and responsibility. "Grow up" we say to those who act silly.

I am not a native Torontonian - I came originally from elsewhere where if you're waiting for a light at a street corner to change, you can actually make small talk with the person waiting with you. I tried this when I first moved to Toronto - the woman looked at me like I was an axe murderer and gave me a horrified look before scurrying away. Geez, calm down already. I am hardly a threatening person.

Part of the problem in Toronto, it seems, is that the only people who actually speak to you on the street are either panhandlers, insane, trying to pick you up, want to rob you or want to convert you to their religious sect. But when I say something innocuous about the weather and wait for a response, I don't expect a freaked out reaction.

So I people watch in the subways and streets instead. I can't talk to anyone because people think you're a threat of some sort. I'm not tall enough to be a threat. Honest. And I have my iPod. MP3 players are a great invention. I love mine. And the best thing about listening to my iPod on the subway platform, is the look of total bewilderment from other people when I start dancing. I don't do the crazy iPod dancing from the iPod commercials, but I do shimmy and shake in time to the music.

I dance to just about anything.  Like Nietzsche, I consider a day lost if I have not danced at least once. Lately, I've been listening to tango music on the subway. And I keep having the same scenario running through my head - dancing the stereotypical tango that we all sort of know - the one where you throw your head back, stride to one side with one arm flung out in the direction you are moving in. I do this in my home sometimes. And I'm trying to work up the nerve to tango on the subway platform. I can just imagine how people would outright gawk at me, point and whisper to their neighbor. Well, at least they'd be speaking to each other. After all, everyone seems to love a spectacle.

I keep thinking that this would be the funniest thing or at least it would be until the men in the white suits put me in a straight-jacket and ship me off to a padded room. 

So maybe I have danced my last tango in Toronto. On the subway plat form anyway.



Ray said...

I like your style. I like to do my own thing. When I was in the US Navy I used to sit on top of the pharmacy safe or on the orthopedic traction frame above the surgical bed to read.

I know the attitude you speak of. In Washington DC and its suburbs you get the clerks who think they are doing you a favor to wait on you.

I have lived in cities and small town. I'll take the small towns any time. In New Bern North Carolina I bought a house that was built in 1771 and completed in 1773. I went to the court house daily tracing the deeds back to the beginning. As I kept walking past historic homes the residents started treating me as if they had known me forever. I even had tea at a home that was at one time owned by the inventor of Pepsi Cola. I was invited to the home of a long time resident who at one time lived in my home.

Now I live in Virginia Beach where friendliness is hit and miss.

My people whatching is now done at my local Starbucks where I read for two hours each day.


Gill said...

I have been trying to send this for ages. Here goes! Try again! Re your blog about dancing on the subway platform In a town not very far from where I live they play very old pop music over a loudspeaker at the bus terminus. It is a place where lots of young gangs hang out, which can be quite intimidating. The theory is that the young kids will hate the music so much that they will move on in disgust - and it seems to be working. But I really hope that they don't stop the music because every time my friend and myself walk through we cannot resist having a little dance or jive to the music. Peope laugh at us but some say how brave we are and how they would love to join in. I wish they would. Bopping with Bett is one of the highlights of my week.You know what they say - "dance as though no one is watching" You shake a leg and enjoy yourself.x