[This was originally performed at an open mic night and is intended for live performance, but you’ll have to use your imaginations for now!]
I’ve never been a particularly rhythmic person, which is ironic because I love to dance. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve gotten better over the years. But there’s still a part of me that fears I’ll be found to be a fool who can’t find her feet.
Having rhythm is kind of like being cool (and comedy, come to think of it). You either have it or you don’t. And sometimes it seems like the harder you try (one and two and…three….and….four), the more you get off the beat. And when another person is involved, there is an even greater probability that a hot mess will ensue.
I was reminded of that when I went kayaking with a friend recently. Being the taller one (this only happens with Asian girls), I ended up in the back of the kayak. As two women in a group of male-female pairings, it was a challenge to keep up with the group. I alternated between relaxing and working my tail off to make sure we weren’t left behind. If I stopped paying attention, our paddles would hit the water at totally different times. I thought we’d get more bang for the buck if I could sync my paddle action with hers. I could find her rhythm and join her in it, and we’d be set. But I soon realized that my friend wasn’t very rhythmic either. So there I was, one rhythmically challenged fool trying to match another. Somehow it seemed hopeless.
Then there’s the rhythmic art of conversation. The ebb and the flow, the give and the take. Finding a good conversation partner is no easy feat. I’ve been on both sides of “the interview” and have also sat through my fair share of monologues. Ok, I’ve given them too. So sue me. It can be difficult to negotiate the appropriate times to interject as well as the ratio of me talking to you talking. After all, you don’t want to seem, on the one hand, needy or, on the other hand, bland.
So here’s the thing. It’s impossible to be meta with rhythm. The moment you think about it, you are already outside the beat looking in. Then you have to abandon the rhythm to get back on beat. By then you are flustered and feeling like a fool. Are we noticing a trend?
Here’s a crazy thought. What if we began with the notion that it’s ok to be a fool?
Then perhaps we could loosen our reins, settle into the pocket, and let the rhythm overtake us.
(Cue cheesy late 90s Latin hit that comes to mind.) <– Actually playing the song and dancing along is highly encouraged!