Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the answer is YES, always always always YES

I could've been the girl that moonwalked, or the girl that thought moonwalking was cool, or possibly the girl that tripped over her own shoes while trying to moonwalk.

I was none of those things.

While at Miramar for the Friday Night Activity at the conference, nearing the time we were supposed to board the buses to return to the hotel, some fellow attendees and I emerged from the back room and found our way to the main area, from which we'd been hearing a preponderance of 80's music throughout the evening.

There was a dance floor.

And on that dance floor, there were a bunch of computer programmers and accountants (How do you tell if your accountant is an extrovert? He looks at your shoes while he's talking to you, instead of his own.), paying no attention whatsoever to the tour directors trying to get everyone to board the buses, but instead, getting their groove on while the camera crew went wild capturing this unheard of activity. (Give a bunch of introverts a little alcohol, and watch the fun begin! (except for those of us that don't drink, like me))

They were all having so much fun, they beckoned everyone to come and join them. Including me.

But did I hop onto that dance floor? Oh, no. I did not.
Unlike my friend there (Joy? I'm no good with names. But she was really nice.), I just couldn't seem to make myself get out there.
Instead, I hung at the edges, grinning at the spectacle, and trying to make myself forget my insecurities.

Then, a Michael Jackson song comes on. Billie Jean. And they are all dancing in a big circle, choosing one after another victim to come to the center and show off their best MJ moves. I'm watching, waiting for someone to at least attempt to moonwalk, but nobody does.
"This is my moment," I say to myself. (I did Drill Team in HS, and we did indeed learn to moonwalk, and used it in a routine. Not something that often comes up, but when it does, I usually show off my moves.)
But, no. My natural shyness is winning the battle. Anxiety takes over. I wonder if my shoes wouldn't glide properly on the wood floor. I consider taking my shoes off, but realize that my stockings may be a bit damp, owing to the rain that night. I hesitate.
And then the song is over. And I'm in agony, because I can't believe I didn't just jump on in with the rest of them.
How lame can I be?

Disappointed yet?
It gets worse.

I promise myself that if another MJ song comes on, I will not hesitate, I will just glide onto the dance floor and do my thing. None of these people know me. I will probably never see any of them again after the conference, so what am I worried about?

(When you travel, you can be anything you want to be. You can try new things, and it won't matter if you don't like them, because nobody you know saw it happen, so nobody has to know but you. For all these people know, this is how you always are. You can either be boring and forgotten, or fun and memorable. Either way, no harm done. Besides, you might find out you like whatever it is.)

I am telling myself all of this while standing, still grinning stupidly, at the edge of the dance floor.

One of the programmers (or tech support guys, not sure), we'll call him Deconflicted (funny story from the bus ride to Miramar), he sidles up to me, (and yes, he's cute. adorable even. and funny.) almost leans into me (but from the side, shoulder to shoulder), and says, "I haven't seen you out on the dance floor yet."
Clearly, this is my chance. This is where I can strip off my insecurities along with my jacket, and just get out there and have fun. My inner "fun girl" is jumping up and down, cheering - yes! you just got a second chance! nobody gets a second chance! go for it!
Instead, I hear myself saying, "Yeah. I'm already so far out of my comfort zone, just trying to meet new people and all, I'm just not sure I can do it."
And what does Deconflicted do? Does he grab my hand and pull me out there anyway?
Alas, no. He's just as introverted as I am, so he just nods, lets it go.


It is a full hour from when we set out to get on the bus before they finally pull the plug on the music (literally! they were packing up lights, speakers, etc - but until the music stopped, these people just weren't going to leave).
I stood there for an HOUR, grinning stupidly, and NOT DANCING.

I know.

Next time, I'll do better.

Next time, I'll remember the travel mantra that makes every trip I take, no matter what the destination, no matter what the company, that much more fun and memorable.

Just say YES!*

Someone wants to take you to their favorite sushi restaurant, but you're not sure if you really want to eat raw fish? Get over it. Say yes, and then let them order for you, too. Tapas? (what the heck is that?) You bet! Would you like to go see this band you've never heard of? Of course!
I promise, if you didn't like it, whatever it was, nobody is going to make you do it again. But chances are, you WILL like it.
I generally do.

If I ever, ever, for whatever reason, get to go out of town for another conference, I promise, I will not be that girl grinning stupidly at the edge of the dance floor, forgotten before the conference is even over. No, that won't be me.

Instead, I'll be that girl who moonwalked. Even if they don't play any MJ.

*to clarify, yes, it is okay to say no when it conflicts with your personal morals. I don't accept alcoholic drinks, or mind-altering substances, and I'm not your girl if you're looking to "hook up"

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