For some reason, it always feels a little strange when I find out I’ve been the topic of a conversation. I shouldn’t be surprised when it happens at the studio among the instructors since part of their business is keeping people coming through the door. So, if one believes something is not quite right, I suppose it makes sense that they would discuss it. Hang with me because this will all make sense in a minute.
But first we have to go back to Tuesday’s lesson. I mentioned in my last post that Z had come back super fired up and that was still the case on Tuesday. And she starts tossing little bits and pieces of information at me. All of it was good stuff but it was coming at me too fast. In between the information were random bits of discussion and comments that really weren’t related. Classic extrovert when every thought that came into her head was vocalized. I need time to process input so I can find the right file folder in my mind so I can file it away. Once something gets filed, I can usually access it when needed. Otherwise, it just ends up getting stuck on the desktop which is soon overflowing with a lot of useless icons so you can’t find anything.
And, when that happens, I stop talking because I’m spending all my time and energy processing in the background. Literally, I was having conversations like this: “OK, that’s a good point, I’ll try that next time, wait, what did she just say, what did she mean by that, oh no that’s just her rambling, remember it doesn’t mean anything, wait, what did she just say, should I be extending my arm more here, do I look at my hand here or something else, why is she singing the song, why can’t she focus, wait, what am I supposed to do now, what was that next step …” Her response to my silence is to amp up the conversation so there is just more stuff coming at me so I was always several thoughts behind her. Then, I’d get the “how did that feel question” and I had no way to answer it because I was still sorting through all the other comments.
So I really just wanted to get out of there and get back to my car and decompress on the ride home. But I must have left a little quickly and perhaps the blank look on my face was taken for anger because when I arrived last night, she’s waiting for me and I get the “we have to talk” line. My first thought was “now what the hell did I do”. But I actually started laughing when she said everyone thought I was mad at her. I did get into a little bit of how I feel that I’ve been working on these routines for quite some time and don’t always feel like I’m making progress but that it is hard for me to vocalize other than to say something doesn’t feel right. She explained how it makes her feel when I stop talking and that her natural response is to talk more to fill the gaps and to try and do something to get a reaction. I assured her that I wasn’t mad and she said it was fine to say something didn’t feel right because we could just go over a particular step multiple times until it did. She said she could see my dancing start to suffer over the lesson because I was becoming more self-conscious and thinking about things more and that made everything a little more tentative and that’s when I get more self-critical. She said when I started and was just feeling things that I was dancing better and that she’s trying to get me to the point where I had a comfort zone for each dance so I wouldn’t have to think as much and that’s why I needed to talk to her about parts that still didn’t feel right. It was a good talk and much needed.
Then, we went out and had two good lessons separated by a group class. The first was the rhythm dances and we worked through all five. The second was the smooth and we got to work through all four including the Viennese Waltz at the end. It was a little tough since there were other students practicing for Showcase and so we fought for space on the floor and for the music but we got through things. One time we were doing the Waltz and I can’t remember exactly what happened but we had looped it once and then she messed something up and admitted she was listening to the song that was playing and had basically gone on auto pilot. But, as she pointed out, that meant she was just following and if we did the routine correctly, then it was because I was leading it. I guess that’s a good thing.
So now Showcase is 10 short days away. Am I more confident? Yes, I can say that. I’ve got a mini break from Z as I get lessons with the other two to work on those routines and the dances I’m doing with them. I’ll continue my cram session next week. I know there is a fine line between prepared and over-prepared but I was always a last minute cram person taking tests and it just makes me feel better to be there doing something. But I also saw another student at the end of his lesson last night. He’s going to a Dance-o-Rama today and he’s been living in the studio (even more than I do) and he just looked mentally dead last night. I hope he hasn’t over prepared because he almost looked like he was beaten and you don’t want to look that way before an event.
Let me digress a bit from dancing just because there are other strange and interesting things that happen to me. It is related to my opening paragraph about people having conversations about me when I’m not there. I stop at a Starbucks before every lesson. There is one just off the highway right before the studio and I typically need the caffeine boost to handle the lesson. Since I’ve become something of a regular, they all know me and, despite being an introvert, I’ve been around them long enough that I can engage in the type of small talk that you extroverts just do naturally. Here’s something else about me that becomes important, I never leave the house without some cologne and I always refresh a little bit before a lesson. Again, if I’m going to be a sweaty mess, then I’d like to think I don’t smell exactly like a sweaty mess. I will say it kind of takes me back when someone starts complimenting me on what I’m wearing. Anyway, somehow that subject came up at the Starbucks and they tell me I’m their best smelling customer. Given that this Starbucks is attached to a gas station and they get a wide variety of people, I’m sure the bar isn’t set to high. I guess the other day someone else came in wearing something and one of the baristas said to his coworkers that he was trying to be me but couldn’t pull it off. (Or words to that effect) This was relayed to me by another person. I wasn’t even in the place when this happened so I guess you could say I’ve left an impression. I suppose there are worse things to be known for.