Dance like there’s nobody watching…


“You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching…”

All resolutions of mindfulness, being in the moment and the zen state vanished as I looked at the clock then, with a muttered expletive, pushed the last papers into my bag, grabbed my lunch and coffee and dashed out the door, running later than I wanted to get to school. Within a few quick moments, I had turned the car around and was bumping down our steep gravel driveway, dust rising in my wake.

As I neared the road, I caught a glimpse of my neighbor’s middle-school child standing in our driveway blocking my way. His back was to me and his backpack was sitting beside him, a telling clue. I glanced at the clock: He must be waiting for the bus. I approached, surprised that he wasn’t moving out of my way. (My old Subaru is many wonderful things, but silent and stealthy are not among them!)  I continued forward slowly. But wait! What was he doing? He wasn’t standing anymore, he was all out dancing–arms, legs, moving wildly. He had some moves! He was dabbing this way and that, swiveling his hips and in general, going to town with great enthusiasm. I felt a broad smile stretch across my face. I drove even closer, now noticing the ear buds that stopped him from hearing the car’s approach, the ones that fed music into his happy feet. Closer still. Was I going to have to beep or get out and say something?  

Finally, when I was quite close to him, he must have sensed something, and he turned in mid dance step, freezing briefly when he saw me close behind him. Then he turned away, grabbed his bag and shoved it to the side of the driveway, moving quickly to follow it.  I smiled and waved casually as he turned back, maneuvered my car past him and drove out onto the road.  The scene kept me smiling all the way to work–his delight in the music, the unselfconscious dancing, the innocent joy and vitality of the moment. What a great way to start my day!

Fast forward to the next day. Once again, my morning routine was off. I had opted to squeeze in a run and as I returned, he was again waiting at the end of the driveway. Today he was still, stolid. Simply standing. An antonym to yesterday’s animation. I checked: The ear buds were in. Perhaps the music simply wasn’t moving him today. Perhaps he was simply tired. But suddenly a thought occurred to me–what if this quiet waiting was a self-conscious awareness seeded from the day before?  That moment yesterday which delighted me, probably mortified him. Will he now always feel like someone’s watching? Will he ever feel comfortable again dancing at the bus stop? I greeted him as I came to a breathless stop and then I headed up my driveway, hoping that as I disappeared from view, he might burst into uninhibited dance moves again. Crossing my fingers, but not holding my breath.

15 thoughts on “Dance like there’s nobody watching…

  1. maryannreilly says:

    A wonderful slice of life. I adore this line: “An antonym to yesterday’s animation.” I hope he dances again too,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jcareyreads says:

    I loved reading this. I felt like. Was there. I too hope he danced!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. margaretsmn says:

    You have a way of describing a scene so that I am right next to you seeing everything. We should all write like no one is reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. JoCSin603 says:

    Maybe tomorrow you can get out and dance with him?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post put a smile of joy on my face. I hope we all dance.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great way to start your morning! I makes me wonder what people have caught me doing. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s possible that he didn’t want to be seen. What if you shared this post with him with the “dance like no one is watching” quote with him. Perhaps he’d realize you didn’t think it was weird to catch him grooving in public.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Sad to say, Stacey, even though he’s my neighbor, I really don’t know him at all. In fact, I don’t even know his name! We just all wave and go about our busy lives–what a sad commentary that is!


  8. arjeha says:

    When do we learn to become self-conscious of uninhibited joy? Hopefully he gets back to the joy. Hopefully we all do likewise.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mbhmaine says:

    Great question!


  10. Laura says:

    I loved reading this. Definitely something to remember.


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