This isn’t the place for me

I often have moments where I know with certainty that Richland is not the place for me. One such occurrence happened this Friday evening. The advertisement said it was a swing dance for all ages, with the proceeds going to the middle and high school jazz bands that were playing. I got my dance shoes, my $5, and headed over to the Knights of Columbus hall, expecting to find some people to dance with and maybe have some fun.

The reality was very different, but one that I should have been anticipating instead. “All ages” really meant middle school and high school kids and their parents. And “swing dance” meant they moved two tables out of the way so that awkward men and their wives could dodge pairs of middle school girls hopping and flailing. “Desserts” were the tables of homemade and thinly veiled store-bought confections guarded closely from the other side of the table by vigilant mothers.

I guess although the words in English were technically correct, the interpretation was vastly different, and I found myself in a particularly awkward situation. I did manage to steal one of the better moms away for a quick swing and a hopeless attempt at a nightclub two-step, it was interesting to hear the jazz bands having been in one for a number of years in high school, and I saw a couple coworkers who had come to support their children.

Overall, I’d consider the night to be the equivalent of diving into a swimming pool covered by a thin sheet of ice; you know that by the definition of a swimming pool there should be the possibility of swimming, and when you dive you are stricken with gut-wrenching shock. You try to make the best of the situation and do a lap, but it’s hopeless and you end up kicking yourself for thinking that in the middle of winter the pool would be anything but frigid and lightly frozen.

Perhaps my luck will change and I’ll find the pocket of single people my age in Richland. If they exist, though, they’re good at hiding.

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