Friday, May 31, 2013

Improv at the Hookah bar

It was another lovely Sunday afternoon. A Sunday afternoon which was made for lounging in the sun with a mason jar full of ice tea and a good book. At least that's what I was thinking as I was power scrubbing on my hands and knees. Who talked me into this rip off? What kind of sales pitch was so powerful as to get me to trade in my tea, book, and helmet in order to spend my time on hands and knees chasing evil dirt spots across the floor with a mop? My memory fails me. I guess it doesn't really matter which lies the pitch held since that Sunday is long gone. 

As I was scrubbing though, I received an offer to represent Ahava belly dance troupe at the local Hookah cafe. Hookah in Lawton? That's mighty progressive for these parts. It would be just me since other people seem to have lives on Memorial Day weekend. That's cool, I'm just over here scrubbing floors. I start rallying the troops via social networks to come support their crazy belly dancing friend (some may deny a relationship). The question of music had to be addressed. I would be in charge. Ohhh yeah! A CD? A thumb drive? How many songs should I take? A CD would require burning songs and the actual CD. That's beyond my simple computing abilities. My thumb drive is currently AWOL so that left the option of dragging along the laptop. Ah, my poor, sick laptop. Besides the fact that its dependency on electricity is unhealthy, and it can't go a millisecond without juice before turning off, it's making noises on par with screaming banshees. If that weren't enough, the screen is also decorated by six...or ten lines. I mean, screen dividers. But, like a true zombie, my laptop just keeps going and going and, wait that was a battery, wasn't it? Batteries die whereas my laptop keeps living the zombie life. I'm probably to blame. I mean, a laptop can only handle so much abuse. Two coffee spillages, one water flood swishing through the keyboard's streets, 9 crashes (and counting), it was only a matter of time until it turned over to the dark side.

After retiring my mop for the day, and getting my costume on, I stepped outside into the humid heat of Oklahoma. I don't really know what's been going on with this odd weather, but me thinks this humidity is not for me. Instead of dancing outside where there's always hope for a nice humid breeze, a tent had been set up decorated with veils and hookah pipes. My support team was early. Well, they were actually on time, but if I had been the support team I would have been late which makes them early. As I'm breaking out in sweat digging out my abused laptop, I really began to wish I weren't the only belly dancer dancing. Barbara Eden must have heard me because another dancer appeared right at that moment. Boy, was I relieved. With the sticky sauna effect Oklahoma has going on, I think I would have collapsed in the middle of the tent in the hazy smoke of various tobacco flavors had I danced those 3.5 hours by myself. I did, however, have the first half an hour all to my solo-self. Note to future self: 3 minutes of tent dancing in 98% humidity in 95 degrees is enough to shed 5lbs of water so bring extra H2O.
Picture by local photographer, Mrs. Evelyne Walls.

Improvisation belly dance gigs are the best. It's all about the music and the moment. There are no moves that "go together" or were put together by someone else. It's all about me. And, I like that. A lot. Plus, you can't mess up. It's dummy proof. And, I like that a lot, too. The songs I have are normal length 5-6 minutes. They're not unusually long (13 minutes), but if you're not used to dancing that long it can be a little challenging to keep improvising or keep going. The other dancer just looked at me and asked if the song would ever end. Then the thought came to her that all my songs may be the original length. Yup. No break for you. 

Picture by local photographer, Mrs. Evelyne Walls

Had the pleasure of meeting an interesting group of guys who were enjoying the hookah cafe. They'd been given a doumbek to enjoy for the duration of their stay by an employee. I've never been given a doumbek to play with at any establishment. It might have something to do with the fact that my eyelash batting looks a little like "the look" so feared in Home Improvement. These guys travel with guitars, apparently, and before the evening was over there was in improvised jam session with a singer, doumbek, beer cup drums, and all. That made all the sweat from dancing in the hot, breeze-less tent worth it. How many people get to be part of such randomness? It was definitely an evening to remember and it all started with the scrubbing of floors.
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!