In Which the Salsa Girl Finally Wins Something

After I left you all last Wednesday, I set out to catch some live music at the Lincoln Center. I’m always game for live music, but Don Perignon for $17? Well that was just too good to resist so I hopped on a train and headed up to the Lincoln Center. When I got there I found an outdoor dance floor and one of my favourite salsa bands setting up on stage. I probably should have danced more but it was just too hard to tear myself away from the stage so I spent most of the evening with my eyes glued to the musicians and a goofy delighted grin on my face. There is just nothing quite so nice as live music, especially music that’s as complex and interesting as salsa. Once the band wrapped up, I was back on a train headed for Midtown where I spent the balance of my evening at dancing west coast swing and chatting with friends.

On Thursday I wandered sleepily home from work, made a quick trip to the chiropractor and then spent the rest of the evening packing and preparing for a weekend of dance! You see, it was Liberty Swing weekend and I hadn’t a single extra second between work and trains on Friday if I had a hope of making it out to New Brunswick in time for the Strictly Swing competitions. So I went into work at 7am, veritably flew out of the office at 3pm and took the fastest slow train to New Jersey. I arrived in time to check in, change, and head to the dance floor to compete in Novice Strictlys with the one and only jazz pianist extraordinaire, Patrick Connolly. I had no notion that competing could feel so comfortable and solid. I may be spoiled forever now. We never once fell off time! And by hook or by crook we managed to snag 5th! I will admit that, being a perfectionist, I am not exactly “satisfied” but I was certainly very pleased to have finally placed in SOMETHING in west coast swing.

The following day I managed to get to semi-finals in the Jack ’n’ Jill though I didn’t make it through to the finals. Sometimes you get 5th, sometimes you just feel glad you made semis. Either way, after weeks of insomnia and with a constantly aching shoulder, I was in no shape for all night dancing so I actually took it fairly easy, went to bed comparatively early, and left just after midday on Sunday to get back into the city in time to take the undergrads to a play.

It’s been years since I read 1984 and to be perfectly honest I found it dry and painful to read, but it’s been translated into theatre and the undergrads wanted to go, so I thought, ah what the heck. What the heck indeed. It was one hell of a play! Like the book it was disorienting, nesting truths within falsehoods within truths and never letting you settle for a moment on one true story line. And the soundtrack was perfect. It kept a person so tightly wound that every flash-bang, ever blackout, every crash seemed almost too much to bear. And then they got to Room 101. I was not ready for Room 101. I suppose it would be hard to ever be ready for that scene, even in the book, but it was so brutal and so real and the moment they broke the fourth wall, I was practically shaking. But that was nothing compared to the climax of that scene. I won’t spoiler it for you, but I will say that I cried desperate, heartbroken, panicked tears at that moment, and if I wasn’t a well trained, polite, quiet Canadian, I might have cried out at the brutal realism of that moment.

I don’t know if I was more woke or shook, but I cannot pretend that I wasn’t affected. That said, I don’t know if I can recommend it. It will horrify and scare you and perhaps even rip your heart out through your throat, all the while keeping you painfully on the knife-edge of truth and lies, but maybe we need that. Maybe that’s what art is for.

So after as good a night’s sleep as I could manage (the back pain and the insomnia continue to conspire against me), I headed into a very quiet office for the day between Sunday and July 4th. I rather like when the office is quiet. It’s so peaceful up there alone with the skyline. I will miss it when we move.

Leaving work, I was struck by a fit of whimsy and so I took the F train in the opposite direction down to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue. I guess I didn’t know what to expect, but coming from places where animal shelters are massive blocky buildings with plenty of space for kennels, I didn’t expect such a tiny little storefront with most of the activity taking place on the street. They asked me whether I wanted a large dog, small dog, or medium dog. I replied: any dog who needs a walk. So they gave me “Lab 1”. Lab 1 was full of spastic energy but she had no desire to leave the shelter. I negotiated with her and cuddled her for about 10 minutes before I shamefacedly had to catch the eye of the attendant and ask for a different dog. I was given “Lab 2”, the equally spastic, but somewhat more tractable sibling of the first.

I don’t know how old Lab 2 was but she was absolutely nuts. She wanted to chase birds, and cars, and dogs. She wanted to sniff everything and run everywhere and if at all possible to lunge into the street whenever she saw an opening. I was only meant to take her out for 15-45 minutes but she just had so much energy (and I might have gotten a little lost and disoriented in the park), so we only made it back to the shelter an hour later. And even after an hour of dragging on the end of the leash while I speed-walked behind her, Lab 2 was still almost as hyper as before. I’m tempted to make a habit of walking her and see if we can at least get some manners into her, even if I can never quite tire the silly little thing out.

And now I’m home, lying on my bed, very grateful for my air conditioner as I rest and gather strength for tomorrow. Yes, I’ve a crazy plan for tomorrow, but you’ll have to wait until next week to hear what it is!

Covered in dog hair,
The Salsa Girl



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