Saturday, November 16, 2013
It’s more than a relief.
Not just the rain that peppers my bedroom window with wet pebbles, but the shedding of anticipated woes I foresaw for the upcoming week.
A friend of mine once told me, “Don’t try to dance on somebody else’s dance floor,” which was her way of saying: “Don’t go where you know you’re not wanted,” or more precisely, don’t step into an environment where you know you can’t compete.
I didn’t always pay attention to these sage advice, and defied fate, assuming I could survive in the world on bluster and nerve.
Sometimes, it is important to give space to things that are beyond me, and avoid people with whom I know I can’t compete.
Back in high school, I used to have what I call the George syndrome, taking this from an episode of Seinfeld in which the character George always thought of a pithy response long after it was appropriate to use it.
Even some of my more clever friends, such as Pauly, were always one step ahead of me in making clever repartee.
I’ve gotten better at this, but never good at it.
And the best defense against being humiliated in public came from my training in martial arts as a kid: avoidance is always better than confrontation, and sometimes, by letting an opponent win, you win.
I never surrender in the traditional sense – if I think I’m right.
But I’m always a little uncertain where the line between right and wrong is, and if I know for sure I’ve crossed it, I then back off.
This is why I refuse to play King David and walk into the lions’ den or dance on someone else’s dance floor when I don’t know how to dance.
Sometimes, I can’t avoid it. This occurred a few months ago, and though I came through the experience unscathed, I felt out of place, and as out of step as George, not exactly knowing what to do or say.
For this reason, I was not comfortable with the expected repeat performance next week when I got an invitation to another, perhaps even more dangerous lions’ den. Earlier this year, I had a similar invite and chose to by pass it, feeling all too much like George with two left feet. But this one, I had promised to attend, and was reprieved at the last minute when the other dancers decided they didn’t need a fumbling, bumbling, tongue-tied George like me stumbling over their dance floor.
Perhaps Arthur Murray might help me prepare for the inevitable next time. But somehow, I don’t it, me still being me.