He stood on the edge of the dance floor, toes tapping, body bouncing to the beat, feet shuffling, preparing for take-off.
I recognized those signs: he wanted to dance.
I recognized the signs because I was doing the same thing next to our table, 20 feet away. Tom had turned me down on this song (Too fast!) and so I thought, What the heck? So what if this tall dark cowboy is 20 years younger than me? I'm 50, dammit! This is a good song and I want to dance!
(Okay, okay, 51, but if you're over 50, you know what I mean. Just a few years ago I wouldn't have had the nerve to ask a stranger to dance like that, but now, who cares? There's no time to waste!)
I made my move, hoping he didn't twirl off with someone else before I got there.
(Funny. I realize now I never thought of rejection. Just preemption. See above explanation about life after 50.)
Do you want to dance?
I realize now it might have been embarrassing if he had said "no" - but he didn't, thank goodness! He grabbed my hand and my waist and we were off. I expected a fast polka and had to readjust my step to his really fast two-step, but it was a smooth transition, and soon he was even spinning me around...
...which was tricky, because we were at Austin's legendary Broken Spoke on a dance floor that might comfortably provide for 10 couples - but there were at least 50 all vying for space. At times it was more like a session of bumper cars than dancing.
Despite the crowd, Tom and I danced quite a bit (they weren't all fast songs) - we did our best to break in his my Christmas shoes, fulfilling my wish for a night of dancing.
It was also a night with friends, eating, talking, and catching up, and scratching something off of my Austin Bucket List: dancing at the Broken Spoke.
But neither one of us has any desire to go back. And not just because of the tiny, overpacked dance floor. The place just seems to be trying to cash in on its legend. The band (Bobby Flores) was pretty good, but the service in the restaurant was terrible, the chicken fried steak was far from the best I've ever eaten, and this is the first dance hall I've ever been to that didn't provide water for free: $2 for a bottle, take it or leave it.
I took it then refilled it in the ladies' restroom.
But at least now I can say I've been to the Broken Spoke. I just wish I could have said it twenty or thirty years ago, before it became another Texas caricature. (It reminds me of Gilley's after Urban Cowboy, except at least Gilley's still had a large dance floor!)
Still on my Austin Bucket List ... La Zona Rosa, Austin Music Hall, Cedar Street, Stubbs BBQ, Cactus Cafe, Cedar Street, Continental Club, the Hole in the Wall, Mount Bonnell, Salt Lick BBQ, The Blanton Museum, the UT Tower, the Elisabet Ney Museum ...
Wow, I better get busy! Tom?
Meanwhile, here are more scenes from the night...