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12:42 p.m. - 2010-01-29
Tangled Up in Tango

So yesterday I had this hideous kinked nerve at the bottom tip of my left shoulder blade. Sucker really, really hurt. Hard to breathe, or turn my head, and coughing made me see stars. I could NOT get it to relax. The hot water bottle helped, as did jamming my back against door edges (like a bear scratching itself on a tree!) and when Mick massaged it, but nothing made it completely let go. All day yesterday, then all through tango lesson last night (more on that in a bit), even sleeping was a bitch. Almost bagged going to the gym this morning, but I figured if I wussed out for anything less than swine flu or an actual broken bone then I'd start finding reasons to postpone every time and then soon enough I'd be the gym drop-out I never wanted to be. So I went and driving over hurt. Taking my sweatshirt off hurt. Hugging MIL hurt. The first few exercises were murder, but then I was able to get on my beloved cable pull and between sets I just let the weight hang there, pulling my arms and stretching my back and then…POP! It finally, finally let go. Ahhhhh…….

The place is still twinge-y and sore, but it's not all kinked up anymore. Score one for the wonders of the gym. Score another one for me for not being a wuss.

Also not for wusses, tango lessons. The instructor is very nice. He's Russian and has an adorable accent. It's not like a Cold War villain Russian accent, Vasily sounds sort of like Lawrence Welk. I'll have to ask Vasily if he's from Odessa, I think his accent is Odessan. A young guy and very enthusiastic, he and his wife (a local girl whose folks own one of the Italian joints here in town) run the studio together. They're expecting their first baby sometime this summer and I'm really hoping they can make a go of the dance thing. Imagine how great it would be for the baby to grow up surrounded by music and people dancing!

Last night there were me and Mick, a young bridal couple learning some steps for their first dance, an older couple also there for wedding dance lessons- only they're readying for their daughter's wedding, and another couple about our age who didn't say boo to anyone. Whatever.

The tango is HARD! It's not that the dance is so terribly complicated (at least not yet) but it does have very strict steps. Also bollixing things up is Mick not ever having danced anything before and me being so tall that I am used to leading. I lead backwards, true, but I'm still used to steering. 25 years of pulling Mike around the dance floor, his only job being to warn me if we were going to crash into something/someone, and now trying to let Mick do the actual leading is weird. Especially because he's leery about physically asserting himself in that way. Being Mr Muscles he's got that whole gentle giant thing going on where if he ever has to touch someone it's done with the utmost of care so he doesn't accidentally hurt. Unfortunately the dance floor is no place for being tentative. He hesitates so I start to lead and then we're suddenly lurching around trying not to smack into each other. Be funnier if Mick wasn't so uptight about not immediately being wonderful at the tango. Athletes. Tuh. So used to being good at their sport(s) that learning something physically foreign is a real challenge. It's been many, many years since Mick's been a novice at anything involving his bod, so his frustration fuse is very short.

I chided him a bit on the way home and reminded him he didn't always have a 1,000mph tennis serve, he couldn't always go straight up a mountain on his bike in the big chain ring, he wasn't always able to squat 400lbs. I also pointed out all of his sports are solo endeavors. He never even played doubles tennis. Dancing is an entirely different gig. He has to work with me. We have to do it together and in synch. It's going to take time and a whole lot of practice before he can slang me around the dance floor, eliciting oohs and ahhs from the onlookers. I admitted I'm no fonder of being bad at things than he is. Mine might be the realm of words and the mind, but if you consider me a word athlete then it's been a long time for me to be learning something new too.

Do you know I can't remember learning how to read? Family lore has it I was reading well before my 3rd birthday. I have memories of expanding my vocabulary, but the actual "Ah ha!" moment when little black squiggles on paper became understandable, no. Too early in my life to recall. Also like a lot of voracious readers my reading vocab far outstripped my ability to speak those same words aloud. At age 6 I'd never heard anyone say 'albeit' or 'solemnity'. I knew what they meant, but hadn't a clue how to pronounce them. Something that continues to this day, though I have been taken to task many, many, many times for larding my speech with way too many 50 cent words. Well excuse me for having an above average command of the language. Insecure buttwads. Yeah, I got up this morning with the sole intent of making you feel like an ignoramus. Sheesh.

Anyhoodle, my back feels way better, the gym cured what ailed me. And whoo! I have a slim grasp of the rudiments of the tango.


Kicking ass in my old age, ~LA

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