Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dancing on the Freeway

I once watched a TED talk on "The Shared Experience of Absurdity."  In it, Charlie Todd suggests that we have to be willing to look absurd in order to bring joy to others (specifically strangers) and cause them to smile.  I thought, "Okay, as long as it's not me!"  Today, however, it was apparently my turn.

I got stuck on the freeway for over an hour - not inching along slowly, but literally stopped for one hour.  I noticed that everyone around me was hot and bothered and grumpy, including myself.  I decided to see if I could turn the situation around.  I turned on Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba (the 1967 version) and started to dance in my car (you can't *not* dance to that song!).  Some people gave me funny looks while others smiled - their whole countenance changed and we waved at one another.  I decided to take it a step further (no pun intended).

I rolled my windows down.  I turned my music up.  I stepped out of my car, and I danced on the freeway.  ON the freeway!  There was a construction vehicle behind me.  The construction workers got out and danced with me.  For forty minutes I connected with other people... people with whom I never would have connected had I not been stuck in traffic and had I not been willing to look a bit foolish.  It was incredible!  

When the traffic finally cleared and we began to move, the whole truck of construction workers waved and shouted "Good-bye!" to me. And as strange as it sounds, I actually felt a connection and solidarity with these strangers.  For an hour, we were fellow travelers - not just on a freeway that wasn't moving - but on the journey of life.  For one hour, we shared a bit of joy.

Was it worth it, given the multiple other vehicles filled with drivers who thought I was a complete idiot?  Most emphatically, definitely, absolutely ... YES! 

By the way, here's a video of the song that got today's dance party started:


Elisabeth said...

That is the greatest story EVER. That's totally something this clown would do. I'm so proud of you for doing this!!!! P.S. There's a Zumba routine for that song. I'll show you in June!!

Anonymous said...

You are awesome!
The girl who wouldn't face the Sunday school class the first time she sang is dancing on the freeway!