I can be very self-conscious at times. I have no idea what it stems from, though if I were to guess I would assume it has something to do with not wanting to be laughed at. When people laugh at you, it is very rarely ever fun.
There are many things this has held me back from doing. Most of them I do not miss. I am not pining for a chance to get onstage and deliver a lengthy monologue like I did in acting class in college (terrifying experience). I definitely do not want to do choreography like I was forced to do in grade school plays (horrifying experience). I don’t even want to dance at all.
At least I didn’t until today.
I had hit the normal post-work rush on Harding Place. At a certain time of day, that road tends to become more of a car idling area than a thoroughfare. All I could see in front of me were cars lined up at what I knew was a red light a mile up the road. I sat there, listening to my Radiolab podcast and minding my own business as one is supposed to do in traffic. Out of curiosity, though, I glanced in my rearview.
Behind me sat a rusty, tan Pontiac. I could faintly hear music coming from inside. Nothing seemed unusual and I turned my gaze back to the bumper of the minivan in front of me. Then it struck me.
I glanced back and saw the driver.
I do not know what music he was enjoying. It might have been the latest single by Lil Wayne* or any number of tunes from the top 40 charts. All I know, though, is the man was convulsing as if he was having a seizure behind the wheel. I watched to make sure an ambulance did not need to be called, but soon he was belting out the tune, continuing to agitate.
He seemed fully unaware that the windows of a car are made of something transparent called glass. He was engrossed in a song, not giving a care about the world around him. I found myself slightly jealous of this freedom.
I was reminded of a time a couple of years ago. I had just finished work at a restaurant I was employed at and was headed home. The streets were dark, so I turned on my music. I felt safe and secure and began bobbing my head along to the beat as I stopped at a red light. The song had just reached a good part when I looked to my left.
There sat a car full of youths staring at me as if I had somehow brought the entire human race back to a time when dance was viewed as an act of evil. I slowly stopped bobbing and sat still, ashamed that I had been caught enjoying a tune.
This was a far cry from the gentleman behind me. I fully expected him to open his door and begin to dance up and down the street. His fists were pumping and you could see him screaming the words. The only time I would feel comfortable doing that would be going 70 down a highway. Sure, it would be dangerous and I would surely kill myself, but the longest anyone would see me looking ridiculous would be half of a second as they passed by.
Maybe someday I will work my way up to that confidence. I will be a world famous car dancer known for krumping, popping and/or locking at every traffic stop. People will say “Hey, there’s that idiot that dances in his car all the time.” I’ll hear them, but I won’t care because I’m in the groove, man. I’m in the groove.
Or I’ll continue to listen to educational podcasts while driving. This is the safer bet. There is very little pressure to dance while someone explains soundwaves to you.
*At what age does a rapper get to stop calling himself Lil? I mean, Lil Wayne is now 30. He is only 5’6” (thank you internet for that fact), so I guess TECHNICALLY he is still very lil. He isn’t that lil, though. Danny Devito doesn’t go around calling himself Lil Danny D and he is much liller. At some point, he should just be Wayne. Have some dignity, man. You’re an adult.
Also, the word is “Little.” You are missing half of the letters in the word. Just FYI.
- Protesters “Harlem Shake” Outside Ministry of Education (tunisia-live.net)