Everybody dance now

Life’s awkward moments come in many flavors.

One situation I often find awkward is a one-on-one conversation with the driver of an airport shuttle when, obviously, I am the only passenger. You wouldn’t think this would be the case, as I’m able to hold a conversation with just about anyone, whether the person wants to or not. But sometimes, after the first two or three pleasantries, it’s hard to keep it going. I don’t mind riding in silence, but when the driver makes an effort, I feel an obligation to connect.

Yesterday I took a shuttle bus ride on a steamy afternoon. I had waited a long time for the bus in the Miami heat and was physically and mentally wilted when I boarded. When the young driver tried to make conversation, I tried to offer more than a terse response.

“How was your flight?”
“Fine. I came in from Washington, D.C.”

“Was it sunny there?”
“Yes. And hot.”

[Banter about traffic, followed by awkward silence]

Just then, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. It was Madonna’s La Isla Bonita from 1987. I love that song. I know every word. I refrained from singing, though it took some effort. I tapped my foot instead. I noticed the driver banging out an impressive bongo solo on the steering wheel. I bopped my head a little. It was a nice moment, communicating with this young man without words.

The next song was another good one, Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), recorded by C.C. Music Factory in 1990. (Who remembers how it was used in the movie Man of the House?) I danced in my seat while my driver did another rocking drum solo. Another great moment.

Until I said, “Wow, they’re playing some great music here.” He replied, “Yes, this is our oldies station.”

Here, have a moment of your own. Whether the music is part of your adulthood, your childhood or your I-wasn’t-even-born-yet-hood, I dare you not to sing. Or dance. (For some Friday fun, if you’re in your office, crank that second one up really loud and see if you can get your colleagues on their feet.)



Filed under Music, Travel

5 responses to “Everybody dance now

  1. William Greene

    As an old Jaycee of the 60’s and 70’s, I learned a really handy technique for spiriting conversation with strangers: FORM
    Family (have any kids?, married?)
    Occupation (how long have you been doing this? 5 year plan?)
    Recreation (what do you do in your spare time? )
    Message ( enjoyed our talk. hope you have a great day, etc.)
    You, no doubt, already do this, but when the akward moments pop up, FORM offers you some place to re-start.

  2. Alyson

    Back in the 90’s when I was shopping in my local Giant, the store’s music system began playing Ella Fitzgerald’s “Lullaby of Birdland.” Another shopper and I sang along, and it was like something out of a movie. What a great moment.

  3. Polly

    I had a crush on Freedom Williams. Seeing him sing now even makes my heart pump a little faster! I personally think you should have burst into song — maybe he would have harmonized. Curious to know… did you tip him after he told you it was the oldies station?

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