That’s it! I’ve found it: the motif, or theme, for my first blog piece of the year:
Let’s face the music and dance.
The countdown will soon begin for the New Year, and I so want to be ready when the music begins.
Ready to face the music … and dance!
But will I be?
The motif came to me as I was reading Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People.
I’m not far into the story, but just now, the two main characters, love-stuck teenagers Marianne and Connell, are at a dance in their town …
It’s a scene all too familiar to Irish people … the girls there early, taking each other in, and taking each other down with a look, waiting for their lads to show up … unspoken rivalries about to be played out … hoping the same lads won’t be plastered when they do arrive.
One girl, Marianne, waiting for one guy, Connell, in particular.
No one knows yet they are an item.
The lads arrive from their pre-drinking drinking session, and presently Marianne hits the dance floor, gin-fuelled abandon wrestling with the tumult of perceived abandonment as Connell has avoided all eye contact …
There may be trouble ahead, but she faces the music, and dances.
Now dancing would not have been my thing growing up; going to a teenage disco was more a ritual you had to go through to meet girls. Their world, their rules. Which only the clumsy or the callous would ignore.
What struck me then, as a spotty interloper in these perfumed palaces of potential love, was how easy girls seemed to be in this domain. And how confused and heart-thumpingly excited I was loitering around the edges, building myself up for an approach.
The same girls who looked so awkward in PE class or kicking a football, would now be rapt in sinuous synchronicity with the music, exotically painted, scented and adorned, and so practised in that code of gesture, tone, and flashing eyes we bashful blokes tried hopelessly to decipher.
Well, most of us.
And how correspondingly ungraceful the most normally graceful of my mates would be when the music slowed down, and they had no paramour holding them close or leading them on.
Well that’s how it was back in the day for the likes of me, the product of a typically boys-only Catholic education, separated from the convent school next door by a high wall and general cluelessness.
The wall, at least, did eventually came down and I get the impression Irish teen boys are a bit more comfortable on the dancefloor now.
The last day or so I have been sorting through the chaff and wheat of 2018, shuddering at the bad moves I have made, trying now to toss them aside as easily as John Travolta does his white jacket in Saturday Night Fever, to have my mind clear as I make my mark early on 2019.
What’s that … the countdown has started and the band is striking up …
… 10-9-8 … My hair okay? The tux and dickie bow too much, or should I be casual? Too late now. Will they laugh? …
… 7-6-5 … Will I throw a few of those flash shapes I have been rehearsing in my head, or fall back on the old reliables … they haven’t always worked so great before but there’s comfort in the familiar …
It even looks wrong until you get used to it, doesn’t it?
Another year has gone by, and it hasn’t been easy on the domestic front.
Shouty Dad still makes the occasional appearance, depending on the nature of the transgression, or if I am maybe tired and not as deft as I might be at turning a provocation into an opportunity to explore or reframe.
Our own teenage girl has been out this evening at a New Year’s Eve party and it was almost comical as A and I tried to ensure she could enjoy her revels without feeling over-chaperoned by the circle of parents texting her and her pals’ every movement and arranging the various pick-ups and drop-offs.
Like the US president’s security team we were.
Our boy is still waiting for his next football team to reveal itself.
Too much trialling and sitting on benches in wind and driving rain led to a chest infection, and then an ear infection, so there will be no football until he is 100 per cent ready and well.
… 4-3 … By this stage, I should be confident enough in who I am and what I do to hit that floor, those giddy lights and pumping beat an invitation to show me at my best,
Ready to dance like no-one is watching, and secretly hoping the ones that matter will be.
…2-1 … Yes, there’s a lot to worry about in this old crazy world of ours.
But while there’s music and moonlight and love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance.
Happy New Year!
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