Cafeaplis — coffe + community @ minneapolis

Hold Me Closer, Subway Dancer

One Friday evening, we boarded a half-filled train in Manhattan, where we live, and headed toward Brooklyn for dinner. As the car began to move, we could not help but notice a young white man nearby wearing ear buds and using one of the subway poles as the vehicle of a highly enthusiastic personal dance session. Now, dancing on the subway is not unusual behavior these days, but those who do so are almost always looking for tips (“showtime!”).

But this man, dressed in a neat suit (finance, likely), was clearly not dancing for anyone but himself. He spun around the pole one way, then the other, crouched to the ground, waved his hands around, wiggled his butt, and lip-synced the words to the silent beat. Those of us around him tried our best not to stare (simple subway etiquette) but we exchanged sly glances of amusement as we caught each others’ eyes. I marveled at his complete lack of self-consciousness.

In an unfortunate timing of events, at one point the dancer happened to let go of the pole at the exact moment the train lurched, throwing him into the lap of a young black man sitting five or six feet behind him. We all held our breath, expecting an angry outburst at the dancer’s carelessness. Instead, the the target of his trajectory doubled over and let out a loud, long belly laugh while the the rest of us joined in with relieved giggles. Aside from a quick “sorry”, the dancing man did not miss a beat; ignoring us all, he leapt right back to his pole and continued in his shimmying and shaking for the rest of the ride.

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© Copyright 2006 Adrienne Bockheim.