Probably the most interesting thing that happened to me over spring break was that I didn’t go to Destin, Florida. Over the past few days, I’ve seen so many social media posts of friends at the beach that I figure our school might as well relocate there with the entire college-aged population.
By no means am I saying my break was better—obviously, having its most interesting aspect be the negative of a concept is a new low, even for me. Call me a boring person, but my typical rationale is why go on trips to put hundreds of miles between me and my problems when I could just not deal with them right where I am? The outcome’s the same, except I’ve saved everyone the trouble of pretending I’m capable of handling more excitement than I actually am.
You: You’re a boring person.
Me: (in tears) WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT??
But I’m not totally hopeless. Wednesday, some friends invited me out swing dancing, and I went on the off chance that I’d turn out to be some jitterbug prodigy (my mind said probably not, so instead I looked to my heart, which said are you out of your mind, but at that point I’d already agreed so the point was moot).
We ended up arriving 45 minutes into the swing dancing lesson, at which point everyone had already learned the steps and we just kind of stood along the fringes of the room watching the more responsible people rotate partners in a giant circle. A friend suggested we go downstairs to catch a blues lesson instead.
The blues lesson was a relaxed one; it lasted at most twenty minutes, a constant stream of people filing in and out of the room. Afterward, once the floor was opened for dancing, my last partner left to DJ and I made a beeline for the tables on the other side where my friends were waiting, as I was petrified someone was going to ask me to dance when I was already forgetting which foot I use to walk with. (Rereading that sentence, I’m confused, too, because up until now I was under the impression I used both.)
So this is the point where I would say that, obviously, I needn’t have worried, except it actually… happened.
Baby-faced guy: May I have this dance?
For those of you who’ve never partner danced before, when you’re a beginner, teachers usually impart to you a simple set of steps (maybe four eight counts if they really think you’re up to it). BFG and I had both never blues danced before.
Point is, once we went through those steps a couple times through, I was beginning to realize that twenty seconds of choreography wouldn’t last us through a three-minute song. Also, where is one supposed to look during partner dancing? Over his shoulder seemed meek, but sustained eye contact for the remaining 2m30 was unthinkable. I mean, I once read an article that claimed staring into a stranger’s eyes for three minutes could make you fall in love. I can’t even make prolonged eye contact with my dorm’s supply of Chex Mix (most likely the residual guilt) and I’m fairly sure I’m in love with that.
Me: Uh, what brings you here?
BFG: (looking over my shoulder) I come swing dancing every week. Haven’t done blues before, though.
Me: Oh, same about blues. I’m here because spring break.
BFG: Me, too.
Me: … What school do you go to?
BFG: (says recognizable high school name) I’m a sophomore.
Even though I probably should’ve seen that one coming, I immediately felt uncomfortable. Which brought to mind a conversation I had with a friend last month at a club’s general meeting. (If you remember, I volunteer with a group of students to teach local elementary schoolers financial literacy—that’s part of this club.) We were kicking off the new volunteering season, and our president was laying down some ground rules for appropriate interaction with kids.
President: As you grow older, you’ll start to notice that there are more and more, uh, restrictions as to what you can and cannot do with children. Like, you can’t be alone with kids, because that’s not appropriate anymore.
Friend: (in my ear) It’s funny because I used to be the kid.
Me: Yeah. It’s like, years fly by and now all of a sudden I’m the pedophile?
… And now I was actively struggling not to say the word “pedophile” out loud in front of BFG—truly a herculean effort. I tried my best to shut up for the next two minutes, which was difficult because when I’m uncomfortable I either clam up or ramble like nobody’s business, and I think he really appreciated that.
So yes, Destin, Florida spring breakers. While you were reclining on sandy dunes, you could’ve been blues dancing with 15-year-olds and trying your hardest to not to be a predator. I guess there’s always next year.
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