How is it possible that I went to a contra-dance last night? Well, it really happened. Thom, fun-loving social butterfly that he is, wanted to go, but David was not quite so fun-loving, and declined. I was elected to be Thom's companion. I took the news with a laissez-faire attitude that surprised even me. Off we went, armed with Thom's home-made cookies and our cameras. I took this picture with my zoom lens from across the hall as the musicians were warming up. I sat on a bench as far away from the action as I could get, and settled in to watch the action.
When the crowd had assembled themselves into two lines for the first dance, they were one person short. The last three people , in need of a fourth, enticed me into joining them and the rest is history. I spent the rest of the evening twirling and clapping and skipping in an elderly imitation of my jounior high school self, forced to square dance in gym class.
At the end of the evening, Thom and I declared the experience as a "fun" time and went home to regale David with descriptions of the event. Even as I spoke the word, I realized that the word "fun" was quite a foreign concept to me. I'm not sure I know what the word actually means. It implies something other than "enjoy." Enjoy is more dignified, restrained. Fun seems to imply letting down one's inhibitions, preferably in the service of an otherwise meaningless activity. It is stepping outside normal life, even forgetting about it for a time, immersing oneself in something all-comsumingly frivilous. If that is the case, I wasn't having a totally fun time, since some observer piece of me was watching the whole experience with a smirk.
Today I went to a poetry reading at the Art Center of Oscar Wilde's work about his experience in prison. That same observer person relaxed and retreated, nodding approvingly.