If you got here because you followed the tag agyptian temples: this is not about egyptian temples. egyptian temples are today’s featured article on wikipedia:
I was late because I had been pre-writing the previous post when feeling, hm, shitty after my first yoga course. I was late because I was cleaning up all those dishes, the kitchen and the wintergarden from my huge birthday breakfast. Too bad I checked my phone AFTER that to find a message reading:
‘You can leave the kitchen like that. I’m cleaning later : )’
It was a little after 10 pm when we finally left for Berlin. Me: Stressed. I’m gonna be late for my birthday waltz! Last year I had a sprained ancle. Then, to soothe myself I said: “Next year is my birthday again.” Next year is now.
Arriving at the station we just missed the S-Bahn. Next one in 20 Minutes. Now that was too much. My mood went skydiving and my explicit mind startet a rant:
“Fuck! Now I’m gonna miss my birthday waltz. I’m gonna arrive just 5 minutes before midnight, not warmed up, no way I can do a birthday waltz then. I’m gonna be there, midnight is going to happen WHILE I’M THERE and I’m not gonna waltz, it’s going to be horrible and then the whole thing will last only till 00:30 anyway, it’s gonna suck. There’s no point in going. We should turn around and go home. So I’m not gonna celebrate my birthday. My birhtday! Another screwed up birthday!”
I was bathing in apocalyptic drama and self-pity. I have to mention: The other 364 days of the year I tell everyone that I don’t care about my birthday. At all! So I guess that wasn’t entirely true… Also note: I had been celebrating my birthday through the whole morning into the afternoon with a massive, abundant, dekadent breakfast with friends and flatmates. So I was full of bullshit. But now me drowning in apocalyptic drama and self-pity.
And then there was this thing about the admission fee and working at the bar. My train of thoughts on this one you can recollect here:
I calculated: Arriving around midnight, thing lasting another half an hour – so I was only going to go there to work at the bar! Oh, I was miserable… Luckily my boyfriend didn’t take my ‘It’s-all-pointless-we-might-as-well-go-home’ serious. Instead he started to dance tango with me so I would be warmed up for my darn birthday waltz when we’d arrive. Honey, when you read this: You are awesome! To his anti-rant program I added a quick and dirty meditation over the phrase:
“Expectations create misery.”
A friend once said this sentence to me, among all other kinds of words but it kinda clung to me and has turned into my favorite mantra.
The warm up tango didn’t quite work though, the floor being too abrasive to do any turns and inside the S-Bahn we couldn’t keep our axis with the driving motion. But with the cindarella-idea of the night meditated away it didn’t even matter anymore. It mattered that we were dancing and tumbling in the S-Bahn.
At the cash. I’m a little nervous. What if they say no? Do I turn around and go home? Will the girl think I am weird? Am I weird?
I: “Hi! Is there, like last year, the possibility to work behind the bar for some time instead of paying the admission?”
Cashgirl:”Uhm, oh, I don’t know, you can go ask the organizer, he’s at the dj table right now. Just go in. But come back, in case he says no!”
DJ: “Hey! Go ask Leela, she’s over there at the bar.”
Leela: “This year we made the entrance a little mor expensive and hired people for the bar. But I can ask whether they can use some help.”
Leela: “Yes, we can do it like this, I’ll come back to you later.”
I: “Wait, what about my boyfriend?”
Leela: “When you work for an hour your boyfriend is covered, too.”
And off she goes.
Now the DJ makes an anouncement:
“This is the last time that I will interrupt you…”
… Oh dear…
“We have a birthday child tonight and on a milonga it is custom to get a birthday waltz. This means that she is the only one dancing on th floor and anyone who wants to can walk up to her and tango with her. If someone is already dancing with her, then you just walk up to the pair and clap your hands to shoo the other dancer away.”
There you go. Birthday waltz without warm up. Okay, I admit, it was alright. Not great, but allright. Then: Tango with my boyfriend. Ahh….
A few dances later a friend of mine kinda clapped me away from him, so I sat next down next to the dancefloor, watching the pairs float around. Chatting with a friend who I haven’t seen in quite a while. Then Leela walked up to me.
“Hey! Now you could help picking up all those plates and glasses. But if you prefer to relax and enjoy yourself then that’s ok too.”
“Ok…” I hesitate. How much do I want to enjoy myself? It’s late already. But I don’t ask how late.
“Only if you want to.”
I think of the shitty after-yoga-feeling due to how I thought of freeloading through this, using my birthday as an excuse.
“Ok, I’ll do it.”
She leads me behind the bar into the kitchen, giving instructions and introducing me to the workers. Telling them that I ill give them a hand. All over sudden I feel embarrassed. Like I’m the lowest creature in the social hierarchy. ‘You almost have a diploma! You don’t have to do a low job like this one!’ My pride cries. I realize how deeply connected the complexety of my job is connected to my selfworth. To think my time is wasted because I could do better! I realize how deeply money is related to pride. You don’t have to humbly ask whether and how you may get a share of, well, in this case tango. Just get out your wallet, drop a few coins, there you go. From the honorable job that you are good at. That you are educated for. No questions asked anyway, noone asks you how you come up with those few Euros. No one cares; as long as you have them, you have the right to be there. But if you don’t have them, people ask. At least wonder. But explaining that you choose it this way – often out of line. Or is all this just in my head? Better to start working.
I take my time. Enjoy every minute of it. My boyfriend finds me: “You are not really gonna do this. On your birthday.” I can see how it is exagarated to spend a good deal of the little time left cleaning up when I was offered not to. Maybe it’s a relict of my catholic upbringing, this penance for my new “people-are-gonna-get-me-stuff”-attitude. I reflect on my avoidance of barter. Avoiding to ask. It feels a little bit like begging. Dependance. Dependance on the goodwill and unconventionality of others. The possibility of being looked down on. Avoiding the encounter with my pride. I shoudn’t get away with that. Yes, I am doing this. Fuck my birthday.
I feel a little bit captured though. All over sudden I think freedom is being able to pay the admission and do what you want instead of cleaning up behind the other guests. I want to be wiht my friends, dance. Have to remind myself that I could have refused to help out. I didn’t. It’s all in my head. Back to the plates and glasses.
It’s nice to chat a little with the workers. Nice to have a look behind the scenes. I’m just about to bring out the washed grapes, my last chore, when I hear the DJ:
“The last three.”
Grapes are falling down the floor when I rush to the bar. The last three! Where is he? Right here of course. My boyfriend and I dance three bautiful, improvised, expressive tangoes. I’m happy. What a beautiful night. Who would have thought? Probably everyone except me.
The music shuts down, I sit beside the dancefloor once again when Leela comes up to me. Whether I would like to take part in the practica tomorrow. Charging the participants and bringing out drinks during the break in exchange. Wow. I’d love to!
Freegan tango courses. I was wondering how that could work. This is how.