Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The second step is admitting you have a problem

Last night I went to a salsa party to dance and had to face some of my demons. I don't think people who know me would think I have social anxieties, necessarily. It turns out, however, if I walk into a room of pretty people who know how to dance, especially if that dance involves steps, I immediately become terribly intimidated and am convinced that I have intruded on a party to which I explicitely was not invited.

I held up pretty well though under pressure, I think. I did the little dance class and struggled through the practice sessions. When the real dancing started, I danced with a couple people on the dance floor, although I spent the whole time feeling guilty for imposing myself on my partners. The nice thing about the scene was that it was full of people who really love to dance and that was what they were there to do. So it was fun to watch and to chat with people.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

BBQ not bombs

I went to the anti-war protest in Fayetteville this weekend. I was impressed with the diversity of the crowd, in terms of veterans, peaceniks, trade union folks, and students. I did see a few of the wacky people that I used to know in Durham, which was funny. I also had a real eastern North Carolina bbq sandwich from the vendor selling lunch and was moved by a number of the speeches from current service people and veterans. It was worth the trip down to visit my folks. (My Dad actually came along with me.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Star Sighting

My friend Erik saw Salman Rushdie and his sexy model wife the other day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were on our way to the Dianne Arbus exhibit and there he was in front of a 3rd Century BC heiroglyphic. I wouldn't have noticed him except for Erik whispering feverishly in my ear that I must turn around and look at him. He was wearing these fashionable little black leather tennis shoes and jeans that were frayed just so, which struck me as surprising, but if you are an internationally known writer with death sentence on your head and a sexy model wife, then I suppose you would dress with a little edge.

As it happens, Midnight's Children is sitting next to my bed, as it has been for several months. I have only read sixty pages or so, but technically I am reading it and technically it could have been in my bag when I saw him. Perhaps I could have had it signed if I had only been a bit more diligent about my winter reading. Really, Erik was much more bummed than I that he didn't have anything for him to sign.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


It's so hard to go to sleep on Sunday night, because when you wake up you have the worry and fret of Monday morning to face. To forestall bedtime, here are some notes on New York this weekend:

Today I took the m4 bus down to 5th Avenue to go to El Museo del Barrio to see their Retratos Exhibit of Latin American portraiture from Pre-Columbian times to modern interactive art. Its nice, if somewhat disporienting because you run through 3 millenia in six or seven galleries. Am I counting correctly here? There were Peruvian masks going back to the year 600 AD, colonial, post-colonial, and modern paintings, so that would be the second millenium, and finally some very contemporary pieces that were post 2000, so yes that makes 3. It's hard to feel like you understand the artistic traditions that hold these artists together. Still, its a nice show because there are some very striking paintings, with one of the famous Sor Juana in Mexico, and with two by Diego Rivera, one by Frida Kahlo and some of their contemporaries.

Then I went to Fairway on 12th Avenue, which was definitely survival of the fittest, kill or be killed. People get very violent when they are trying to squeeze a cart through tight spaces.

Today was cold, but I've noticed the last few days that New York has a sort of late winter beauty. The days are longer so there is late afternoon light when we leave work, broad expanses of white where there is snow on the ground, and the bare trees against the sky make New York pretty in a melancholy sort of way.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Step Back Step

I've gone to the salsa workout class at the Y every couple weeks since the fall. (I think I mentioned falling over during the "bolero cooldown" here a few weeks ago.) Today I took myself to a Salsa class being offered in the lobby of the medical center. This introduced a new terrain of embarassment since it involved dancing with six or seven strangers, some of who salsa very well and others who are just as lost as me. I always feel terrible for imposing my incompetence on someone else. Feet go in the wrong place, the direction of turns is completely lost on me. And I do have a feeling that I can't really ever do any of it well. Like playing the piano: after thirteen years of piano lessons, even after six months of practice, I really never could manage to play a piece of music without mistakes. Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment.