A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

quinta-feira, novembro 20, 2003

I've caused enough havoc for one day, so I'll leave everyone with this anecdote from my dancing alone piece, if only to show that there is emotion within a sometimes-beautiful, sometimes-ruthless soul that can devastate almost as much as comfort...

Dancing together solidifies trust, creates new relationships, rejuvenates the injured civic and personal soul. Dancing together is love.

I know. I attended a rock en español concert in Fresno earlier this year with my kind-of girlfriend at the time. We hadn’t spoken in some time and the drive through the flat fields of the Central Valley—the same fields that hosted the dance where Tom Joad and his family found temporary respite from their misery decades ago—had been a little tense. We were listlessly waiting for headliners Café Tacuba to appear onstage, passing the time by grimacing through conversations.

Then it boomed from epic speakers: "Chúntaros Style," a severely loopy song by vallenato/raperos El Gran Silencio that celebrates the type of dancing together that even young, assimilated Mexican Americans nowadays are starting to disparage.

I knew what to do. I asked her if I could have a dance, and she accepted. I put my arm lightly around her waist while holding her other arm high and we danced a powerful polka. Some rockeros slamming in the pit looked toward our gyrating weirdly, then started to laugh at us for dancing in a way they saw as antiquated.

We didn’t care. We didn’t have to rely on the pleasures of sex to get physically close again; instead, we just held ourselves in a way that was at once platonic and romantic. By accepting my offer of a dance, she let me know that I could occupy her personal space and she would not be offended. By asking her to dance, I let her know that I wanted to hold her, to be close to her, in a way that was more permanent than merely shaking my crotch against hers. We danced in the same spot—it was too crowded in the concert hall to move around—for what was 10 minutes but felt like decades, never letting go. Our relationship was renewed; we danced that one night and fell in love again.

But we never had the chance to dance again. And when she told me two weeks ago that she couldn’t be with me for the moment—maybe forever—I couldn’t help thinking: we didn’t dance enough.