Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Misadventures on the Metro

chapter 21
I don’t remember formal classes or instructions, but somehow everyone knew those “join-in” songs at school dances – you know, the Electric Slide, He----y Macarena!, that annoying Chicken Dance, Y--M-CA. For three-and-a-half minutes the gym floor gyrated as a sea of sweaty bodies repeated 14 synchronized steps over and over and over and over until the music eventually stopped. I don’t remember how I learned the moves, but I was always amazed at their great equalizing power – jock, wallflower, Mr. Popular, that girl who acted too grown-up for your mom to let you sleep over at her house, punk – pretty much everyone lined up or threw their arms in the air when the intoxicating music lured them to the dance floor.

Much like the acquired-by-osmosis crowd dancing moves, there exists what I affectionately deem a “Modern Metro Shuffle.” No instruction manual can be purchased for this dance; the body just knows. And some are naturally better at it than others (like those people who knew the “extra” or “fancy” spins, knee bends and twists for the Electric Slide. And they acted all haughty and thought they were so cool. Where are they now, that’s what I want to know. What secret Electric Slide society do they belong to? What other secrets do they know that I don’t?)

The fundamental basis of the “Modern Metro Shuffle” is going with the flow, finding a balance between fluid movements and rigid stances. Fewer steps are involved but because of quick, unscripted changes of pace, this dance is much more difficult than its earlier Macarena-esque predecessors. And there’s no music.

Less experienced shufflers have not mastered the ability to stay in their own dancing zones. As the train abruptly stops and starts and the passengers absorb the changes with their bodies, these people break from the moves and fall into someone else’s personal space. Others inch toward their neighbors at each stop and start, eventually usurping handholds and forcing experienced riders to perform a version of the “Modern Metro Shuffle” using precarious holds and standing awkwardly close to total strangers. This often results in unsolicited spooning.

For those struggling with the join-in Metro dance moves, please find an underground society to teach you. Maybe you can call the Electric Slide folks – they might know someone.

1 comment:

shaniqua said...

the electric slide folks are an elite group and very private. i would know. not only am i a member, but i'm also the president. interested parties can call 1-800-itselectric.