Sunday, April 08, 2007

Let's Dance

Yesterday at the gym was perfect. First off, it was nearly empty, and so there were no bozos there to give me a hard time about using the punching bags.

Next, the Yankees were playing, and A-rod hit that awesome grand slam, mentioned below.

Too, I'm getting stronger. I can hardly believe how strong my thighs are. My speed bag action is very rewarding.

But something really cool happened in the other room, where the heavy bag is.

I was, first of all, encouraged to find the bag already hanging, which meant I wouldn't have to wrestle it up there all by myself.

After my first set, a grandfather-aged man, a short Italian, not unlike the memory of my grandfather and namesake, actually, walks in. I am revolving my sets, so, after one on the heavy bag, I was going to the speed bag, which is in another room at this NYSC. As I was leaving, he said in an old man's voice, "Don't leave, I might fall!" Of course he was saying, "Don't let me drive you out." He was very nice. I told him if he fell I'd send someone in after him.

Having "revolved" back into the room, I was greeted by big-band music coming from the sound system. It was beautiful, the sort of music my mother used to play on the piano. I recognized all of the tunes. And there was my friend, slowly dancing around the room. I noticed that his arm was in a cast, and I supposed this was his stroke-recovery therapy. How absolutely cool it was.

I did my set on the heavy bag, while this aged gentleman slowly danced around the room, enveloped in a cloud of glorious, dignified music. Heaven comes in bits and pieces on earth. It was a very joyful and peaceful experience. For all I know, that man was an angel.

I told him, "My mother used to play all these tunes on the piano." He said, "Oh?" but that was it. In his own world. I wanted to make a remark about how he should have a dance partner, but decided to leave him in his reverie.

He was the very picture of class and dignity. Eons removed from everyone else in the gym, with gangsta rap and death metal and vainglory coming through their iPod earbuds, images of sluts and studs and barbarians and T&A filling their minds from the LCD screens mounted on their Stairmasters. Man, I can't get across what a beautiful contrast it was.

Except for one thing: the message of the moment. A man dancing by himself. It's not right. It's freakish. It's unbalanced; a lonely, sad curiousity, not unlike the mobiles discussed below. Devoid of balance and the beauty thereof.

God, are you paying attention?


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