Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Gettin' my SCD on

  • I am a Scottish country dancing fool.
    Well, remove the Scottish country dancing bit.
    Rachel and I took part in our first class Monday night, and I once again proved myself to be inept at anything that requires physical coordination.
    From the pictures (I had never actually seen it performed), I had assumed it would be a bit like square dancing. Since my family comes from Texas, I reckon I am genetically predisposed to being able to fake my way through. Sadly, I was mistaken -- SCD involves footwork.
    It has been my experience in life that people who do physical things well are shockingly bad at explaining what they are doing. Such was the case for one of the dance teachers who would tell us to perform a certain move and neglect to mention the three or four other requisite elements. If I'm supposed to take someone's hand and do a bit of prancing, you can't simply tell me to take their hand -- I have to be told to prance. And you need to explain exactly what sort of prancing you want out of me, and allow me to do a few practice prances before adding the taking someone's hand bit.
    Generally, when it comes to this sort of thing, I have a pretty high stamina. This compensates for the fact that I learn slower than most dogs. Inevitably, moves were explained only once, so while everyone else took a break I tried to get the basics of a move that involved hopping from first position to fourth position, to third position, to fourth, hop and start again in fourth leading with the other foot (the pictures I linked to are ballet, so the foot placement is a little different, but it gives you an idea). All sped up and done properly it's basically a stylized prance. But my extracurricular prancing exposed me to an element of SCD that I had suspected might exist to some extent -- dorks.
    Dorks come in all sizes and shapes, but one unifying trait about dorks is that they are obnoxiously condescending when it comes to their chosen subject of obsession. If you talk to my dad about Methodists or the Democratic Party, you should prepare yourself for a tone that lets you know you are really dumb for not knowing the "basic" stuff that he knows and understands.
    So it was that my attempt to perfect my stylized prancing was seized upon by not one but three dorks. If I had gotten this sort of extreme tutoring in high school I would have gone to Harvard.
    The alpha dork was relentless. Every time I would step back from him to, you know, practice my stylized prancing, he would close in and position himself right in front of me so that he could continue espousing his stylized prancing philosophy. But I'm disinclined to pay attention to style points from a man who clearly can't dress himself or comb his hair.
    I decided to stop paying attention entirely when he suggested there was no real counting system for the stock move we were performing. Bollocks. A dance that's been around for at least 400 years and comes from a country whose history is littered with engineers, scientists and mathematicians, and you're going to tell me there's no counting system for a basic element used in almost every dance? Double bollocks.
    "Well, the music is just sort of different. It's a different feel," said Alpha Dork as he tried to squirm away from my suggestion that he was full of it. "My wife has musical training but when she tries to play the music it doesn't sound right. Because it's a jig, see, and she's trying to play it straight."
    If your wife can't comprehend phrasing, that just makes her a bad musician, it doesn't mean that the time signature changes. To that end, I'm sure there's a counting system to SCD, I just haven't yet met the dork who knows what it is.
    That all said, I had a dorkishly good time. To my surprise, there were about 45 people there (more than I expected) and -- even more surprisingly -- my wife and I were not the youngest. It looks like we'll be going back next week.

  • I am considering crossing the picket lines of my self-imposed protest of Major League Baseball to pay attention to the Twins-Yankees series that starts tonight. This way, should the Twins win, I will be knowledgeable in my taunting of Meaghan.

  • My co-worker, Maggie, and I today were discussing the possibility that Americans would be more politically involved if there were more reality TV elements in the process. I suggested that Chris, host of "The Bachelor" should be in charge of Election Night coverage: "Coming up: Only one will stay. Find out who will become president and who will go home broken-hearted..."
    Maggie suggested that the Bush daughters and Kerry daughters be forced to live in a house together.

  • You know who's to blame for the flu vaccine shortage, don't you? Bill Clinton.

  • Hell is full and evil is running unchecked upon the earth.

  • Employees working for Chicago's DDB advertising agency have an on-site pub. I hate them to my core.

  • If you're going to work for America's No. 1 fish and chips chain, you must be listless and compliant.

  • My best friend just moved into a house over the weekend and will now need a lawnmower. I think I've found the perfect one for him.

    Charlotte said...

    "If your wife can't comprehend phrasing, that just makes her a bad musician, it doesn't mean that the time signature changes."


    Jenny said...

    As a card-carrying SCDancer, I am a trifle concerned about your beginner classes:

    You don't mention whooping and hollering. Possibly you are fairly proficient in this area already, but I really feel any SCD teacher worth his/her tartan sash should have gone over it before any prancing was undertaken. Do remember, when whooping and hollering, that you should really be aiming for a high-pitched "he-yooooooooooo-ooch!" that lasts as long as the prance/birl/retreat you are whooping for.

    I also hope that underwear has been discussed. Remember never to wear underpants under your kilt at any social occasion. Wearing them immediately negates kilt-wearing-kudos and will leave you branded a Big Girl's Blouse. You ARE allowed to wear underpants if its an informal daytime-type event. And yes, women will check.

    Lastly: It's only really SCD when you're sober. After that, it's just Dancing.