There are mosquitoes lurking near my front door, all of which are approximately the size of Yorkiepoos. I have a theory that the blinding light that is my pale skin on a sunny day is a beacon to these creatures. As soon as I get out of the car, I start "judy chops" until I get inside. Mosquitoes suck (zing!). And it isn't just mosquitoes taking over my neighborhood. En route to the grocery store yesterday, I saw my neighbor swatting bees (which are approximately the size of St. Bernards) with a tennis racket.
The trip to the store was, obviously, fraught with peril, but once I got there, it was so worth it. I was walking down an aisle looking for gourmet delights I could spend hours making from scratch* when I first noticed The Couple. In particular, I noticed the way they moved. Which seems random, I know. Sometimes I notice a color someone is wearing, or a mannerism a person has, or an accent. Sometimes I don't notice anything. Sometimes I notice the way they move.
I read an article once about an actress from the 40's (maybe) who was iconic for her walk. When a journalist asked her about whether or not her walk was intentional, she said it most definitely was. She said she went to the zoo and studied the way the tigers walked. She wanted her movements on screen to be a feline mix of grace and confidence and danger. I thought that was interesting. I also thought it might be a fun way to learn more about characters I write. What does their posture say about them? Can something as simple as the way they walk, or hunch, or dance give some personality insight? Does a whimsical girl always walk with a little bit of a bouncy lilt? Does a jerk always strut? Or maybe physicality could be a cool device because it is so misinterpreted. (Elizabeth Bennett sort of did that right? Thought Darcy was a snob, in part, because of the way he carried himself?)
I don't mean to bore you. I'm just over explaining why I sometimes notice random things about people -- like the way they move. *cue James Taylor song*
So. I saw this couple in the store. He had on tight(ish) black jeans, a button up shirt, and swoopy black hair. He was handsome. Looked to be in his 30's. She had red hair that was twisted into a long braid down her back. She had on a plaid shirt, leggings and white Keds. Like I said though, what caught my eye is that they were eerily graceful. Something about the way they moved around each other, to grab a box of granola bars, or to reach for the box of Cheerios on the high shelf almost looked timed. They moved like dancers. And they moved like a couple. It's like they could always gage exactly what the other one was about to do. Super cute.
As I was standing in the check out lane, I saw them roll their buggy/cart** up to the lane beside me. I glanced over again, expecting her to do pirouettes off the scanner or something. What I saw was way better. He said something to her and smiled. Then he held one arm up to the side, hand open. He extended the other arm toward her. My heart started to palpitate. They were seriously going to dance.
I'm so weirdly, hopelessly romantic. SSBSers aren't my fave, but I'm a-okay with dancing in the grocery store. For the first time in recent memory, I was grateful for the person who always gets in front of me, and always tries to hustle 322 items through the 20 items or less lane.
The red-haired girl pushed the buggy/cart away, turned toward him, and rested one hand on his shoulder. She pressed her other hand against his and he held it tight. Then he circled his arm around her waist, and pulled her closer to his chest. I know, right? I know! I was about to have a nervous breakdown too. Then, I kid you not, they waltz/tangoed across the grocery store. I don't dance (nor do I watch Dancing with the Stars) so I don't know what the dance was, I only know it looked very pretty and professional. The way they danced, and they way they held each other, lead me to believe they had been dancing for awhile. And of course I assume they are completely crazy go nuts in love with each other. :) It was gorgeous, all set to some cheesy 80's muzak piping through the speakers and the beep-beep-beep of milk and eggs and boring going through the scanners. In the middle of all the boring, they danced. And that makes it even better, don't you think?
The escapade made me think of Anneth in Silas House's book The Coal Tattoo. Anneth is a mess. She's needy and broken and wild and I knew, from the minute I started reading about her, I would kind of want to be her. Girls who are a little bit crazy always come off really cool in books. Anneth was headstrong and flighty but she loved to dance. It wasn't just a hobby either; it's like she had so much energy trapped inside her body she had to get it out somehow. She didn't care how many people were staring or what they were whispering. She let the music consume her and she danced. Let me find the book so I can tell you how he described it. He's an incredible writer. Hold on a sec.
House writes, "...it was like seeing joy made into a human form that could travel across the dance floor-- it was like seeing the music itself." (from Chapter One of The Coal Tattoo)
When I think of Anneth dancing, I think of this song by the Avett Brothers:
So I've been singing "Swept Away" ever since I saw the grocery store couple waltz through the freezer section. The whole ordeal left me a little bit inspired. It's cool to think that maybe, when you're really caught up in doing something you love - when you're painting, or writing, or dancing, or falling in love :) or whatever - people see the music in you too.
I'm not going to lie - there is a distinct possibility that when I got home, and had grocery bags bulging in my arms, and rain dripping down my face, and mosquitoes swarming around the door waiting for me to try and get through, I still spun around in a few happy twirls in the driveway.
Here's hoping you find time to bust a move in the cereal aisle this week :) Seen any sweet public displays of affection lately?
(pea ess, don't forget to leave a comment on the other post if you want to throw your name in the mug for a copy of Paperdoll. Jim Halpert picks the winner on Thursday :)
* I was looking for a box of Strawberry Poptarts.
** My Northern friends make fun of me when I call it a "buggy" :)
*** Apparently, after the Avett Bros sang Swept Away at the venue in the video, a guy proposed to his girlfriend. Swoon.