Thursday, May 25, 2006

And humming under his breath while he moved across the dancefloor

I drove past an old man having his constitutional walk this morning. He was very tall and thin, wearing classic old man clothes in neutral greens and browns, with a jaunty hat on his head. He obviously found walking very difficult, but was determined not to shuffle, so he was swinging one leg in front of the other very deliberately, holding his arms out from either side of his body at an angle of about 45 degrees, maintaining a dignified, balanced gait.

Something about the rhythm of his movements in the short moment of watching him made me guess that he would have been a very good dancer in his day. You know, the kind of man who you'd pass onto at a country circular dance (I went to a few of these in my teenage years, going to a country boarding school). After dancing around the ring with sweaty-handed boys who clutched at you and tramped on your feet, you'd swing onto a neat, bryl-creamed father or uncle of one of your schoolmates, and suddenly they would take over, and for a few minutes you were dancing like Ginger Rogers, firmly but politely held and led through the correct steps with a fluid appreciation of the music.

I miss dancing like that. I felt a wave of affection for this suffering walker this morning, and gratitude for the reminder. I hope he has a nice day.

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