Saturday, February 7, 2015

Finding My Inner Pole Dancer

Finding My Inner Pole Dancer
            Dance is different things to different people. To some, dance is pure joy of movement. To someone else, it is forbidden sin. Dance is exercise, artistic expression, communication, a route to seduction. Dance is children cavorting on the lawn in summer, cowboy jitterbug at the Elks Club on Saturday night, the Senior Prom, the formal ball, the shindig. It is the butterfly flitting flower to flower.

            For me, at this time and place in my life, dance is my doctor’s prescription.

            Don’t laugh. I’m serious. Six months ago I couldn’t walk and had a pain level of twelve on a scale of one to ten. I began treatments with a sports medicine specialist and progress has been steady, but evidently slower progress than Dr. Epifanio wanted to see. He sent me off to get an X-Ray and Ultra-Sound, to check there wasn’t a hidden problem, I guess.

            That was in the morning. In the afternoon I delivered the pictures to him at his University office. He scanned them. Nodded. He told me I needed to work harder. I can have life or I can have good life. That is my interpretation of what he said.

            My hip joint feels cemented into place. We knew that. The pain discouraged me. I moved  that joint as little as possible. Dr. E said I needed to move it as much as possible. All directions. “I want you to dance,” he told me while he grabbed a five-foot pole and rotated his hips in front of it, “twenty minutes a day.” “Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked. I shook my head in the universal negative. “You should get one.”

            In the spring, should I live so long, I will be seventy. Nevertheless, I blushed and giggled. “You want me to pole dance?”

            What makes this story woo-woo strange, is that two months ago, my friend Kathy and I were walking south on Avenida Gaviotis. In front of a corner building with two-story window walls, we stopped. For years the building was home to a high-end jewelry store but with the downfall in the economy, the building has stood empty. Now it looks like a low-end dump, windows cracked, filled with trash, walls enhanced with graffiti.

            “This would make a perfect pole-dance studio,” I said.

            “I can see it. Repair the windows, paint the walls, the right lighting, perfect,” Kathy agreed. “We’ll hire street bands, live music.”

            “There are plenty of beautiful girls to teach the moves. We’ll sit in the back room and manage the joint, rake in the money.”

            “Let’s call the landlord and get started. When Richard gets here, we’ll have him write a check.”

            Over the years Kathy and I have created a hundred fantasy businesses and solved most of the world’s problems. Some ideas are flash-in-the-pan. Others, like our pole dance studio, live on for months. We keep adding details. Richard just laughs and grips his wallet.

            In the early morning reality, as the sun peeks over the hills, I don my baggiest shirt and head out the door for my walk, hips subtly swiveling as I go. Emphasis on subtle. Only the tiniest movement, anything more is too painful. But mostly, I don’t want to be a spectacle.

            Oh, I know I am marking time. Hip surgery is in the offing. Dr. E and I talked about it in the margins of our discussion. Meanwhile I follow his directions to keep strengthening my leg muscles.

            In the privacy of my own home, I get creative. You should see me sweep and mop. Housework is an event rather than a mundane chore. I’m rather amazed what is possible with imagination and a broom. Or even the swish of a dust cloth. Twist and turn. One, two, three, side-to-side, slide forward, slide back, promenade left, sashay right,  circle those hips, around the broom and around the room.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

December 18, 2014

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