Tuesday, June 22, 2004


My friends Natasha, Seamus, and I have been taking tap dance lessons for the past six months. None of us had ever taken tap before, and it was a choice between this and fencing. After a friend told me about her experience wearing a sweaty, smelly rented fencer's mask, the choice was obvious.

We've finally moved up to Tap II where the range of skill levels is really broad. A few of the really good students occasionally help the instructor out with all of us remedial students. I've nicknamed one of these superstar students Midge. I feel kind of bad about that - I jokingly called her that once to Seamus and Nat because she's really little, and the name just stuck. I think her real name is Kathy. Or Helen.

For some reason, I don't like Midge. Maybe it's because she's so small. Maybe it's because she gets a real smug look on her face when she tries to show me how to Buffalo. She's not all that, with her size 5 1/2 tap shoes. I just don't like her.

Or maybe it's because she kind of looks like me. She wears similar glasses, and has brown curly hair. One day we were both wearing blue t-shirts and white pants, and when I looked at her in the mirror across the room, I felt like I was seeing a carnival funhouse version of myself. I had to move to the other side of the studio.

My friend Seamus has discovered that when he does certain steps, his right hand moves uncontrollably. We all believe this to be some strange neurological disorder. Whatever quadrant of the brain controls tapability obviously affects the other motor skills. We like to call it Jazz Hand Syndrome. On the complicated moves, his right hand just starts flapping back and forth involuntarily at his side, like he's secretly waving from a parade float. Just when I had gotten used to this distraction, we learned a new side step move. Suddenly, Seamus' thumb popped up like he was hitching a ride. Now we call him The Fonz. AAAAAYYYYY!!!!