Have you ever lived under the illusion that you were better than you really are? Or have you found yourself assuming you can still do the things you were adept at when you were, say, 18? Have you found that some physical movements that were once common place, now often result in a trip to the chiropractor?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, take heart … I am right there with you, my friend.
Our 12-year-old daughter has taken up hula dancing. I, fancying myself the spry teenager of the late ‘80s, would sit and watch her rehearsals and think to myself, “I can totally do that.”
Ah, sweet delusion. How was I to know where you would lead me?
When my daughter brought home a few DVDs of the dances she was learning, I stopped making dinner one night to join her in the living room to practice. You know, throw the kid a bone.
Back in the day, I could watch any kind of dance move and mimic it no problem. Of course, there wasn’t much skill to the zombie dance moves of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, but that wasn’t all I could do. I could also imitate the entire Bangles video for “Walk Like an Egyptian,” so I had that going on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my moves were multi-faceted.
So in my mind, I’m thinking, “This will be no sweat. Let me run through it once with Lily and show her how it’s done.”
The video started and her teacher, a Roseburg woman who’s been teaching hula for years, popped up the screen and started dancing. We were barely two beats in and I was already behind. “No problem,” I told myself. “You’re just rusty after all these years. Muscle memory will kick in anytime now, pal.”
Next thing I knew, Lily was onto another move and I was still getting my arms to do the side-to-side move that hula is known for.
“No, mom!” said Lily. “Don’t move your fingers like that! Move them like this!”
Hold up. Why is my 12-year-old daughter telling ME how to move? Clearly she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with. Has she not seen me dance along to “Dancing in the Dark” by The Boss?
The next move was something with our hips that is not humanly possible. I seriously don’t know when my hips became disjointed, but I resembled Bambi the first time he tried to walk.
By this time, Lily was doubled over laughing. At me. The original (self-proclaimed) ‘80s valley girl.
What kind of lunacy is this?
By now I was completely out of sync and so far behind, that this particular Soul Train was ready to run right off the tracks. Plus I was out of breath and sweating. After 60 seconds of hula.
My how the mighty have fallen.
At that point, I grabbed my apron and went back to making homemade pasta e fagioli, something I truly am still good at. But just to show I was still cool, I turned on the Bangles Pandora station while I cooked and danced a little while I stirred.
Eileen Burmeister is a Winchester-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.