Saturday, September 14, 2013

Improved by Tango?


A Barrio Milonga in La Boca - the sweet old couple in the front has been together and dancing tango for over sixty years!  They are in love and very happy - and still dancing every Saturday night.

Sometimes Man Yung wishes we never took up Tango...that is, when we we want to kill each other over a disagreement about steps!  However, for me anyway (oh look, Man Yung is still muttering to himself that if we didn't dance Tango, we would never argue - ha ha, good luck!), I think Tango has vastly improved our lives and I'm glad that we are dancing Tango.  We get more exercise, we are happier, we are more social, we have made great friends, we are more mentally balanced, we are less stressed...

When we see examples of miserable people in real life, we always think that their lives could be improved if they took up Tango.

We have a neighbour in his late fifties who lives alone.  He seems like a friendly, normal guy - but we have never seen him with any friends over, nor does he ever date.  He doesn't have to work anymore, but apart from visiting his mother at the retirement home nearby three times a day, he doesn't go out except to shop for groceries.  He only eats healthy food, mostly vegetables with little oil, little salt, no sugar.  He also worked out religiously - but all that healthy living didn't help because he got very very sick for a while.  Thankfully, he has recovered, but life is still monotonous because when we talk to him, he says the highlight of his day is seeing his mother and all the other old people at the retirement home. 

I know someone in my profession who is stressed out of her mind with work.  At the office she is constantly freaking out - yelling, slamming down the phone, throwing things, storming out of the office because she can't take it anymore.  However, she can't just leave her work behind, even when she is home she is talking to her clients and replying to emails.  If she is able to sleep, she jolts awake because she has just remembered something urgent that she has forgotten to do in the office, or she had a nightmare about something going terribly wrong with work.  To compensate for the stress, she takes jet vacations and cruises every two months - however she never quite lets go and by the time she stops thinking about work she has to come back to it.  Instead of being refreshed, she is exhausted by her vacations and it doesn't take half a day before she is yelling and throwing things again.

There's a couple who is obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses.  Every time we see them, she's got new luxury handbags and shoes that cost thousands of dollars, and he's got the latest trendy electronic gadgets - and they want everyone to know about it.  They also want everyone to know where they have been eating - their Instagram and Facebook pages are filled with photos of upscale food from upscale places.  They are constantly "upgrading" to new houses and new cars but they are never satisfied.  When they aren't feeling high anymore from all the status symbols they have acquired, there's always more shopping that they can do - but I don't think that it helps.

A friend of mine hasn't exercised since high school.  She isn't fat but she is frail.  All day she stares into a computer screen and types and she whines about back pain and arm pain and wrist pain.  She is always going to the doctor and even though she is only forty-five she carries around a large rectangular pillbox with sections and labels which remind her which cocktail of medications she should take at what time to alleviate her heart problems, her stomach problems, her intestine problems etc. I tell her, "Instead of taking all that medicine, why don't you go out regularly for a walk?  Take up some gentle exercise like Tai Chi (or Tango)?" but she complains that she never has time.  As far as I know, all she does after leaving work is go straight home and sit in front of the TV for hours.

"See, Man Yung?  Wouldn't all their lives improve if they danced Tango?  People who are stressed  will feel more relaxed.  People who are obsessively materialistic would gain a better perspective on their lives.  Lonely people will get to meet others and feel the warmth of the embrace.  And my friend would finally get some exercise and heal that body that has been disintegrating from disuse!" 

"Ah, Irene, the world would be a better place if everyone danced Tango - that is, everyone except you!  Your reluctance to dance nothing but boring traditional steps is holding me back from achieving Tango superstardom.  I want to do triple spinning leaping back-kicking colgada enganche ganchos!*  Now we never do anything but WALK, and I want to fly! Look at how GREAT we were in 2006.  Waaaaaaaaaaah!"

* "Hey Man Yung, if you were doing your triple spinning leaping back-kicking colgada enganche ganchos, maybe YOUR world would be a better place - but it would be the APOCALYPSE for the dance floor!"

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Alberto Dassieu

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