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Michael Safdiah Tea Dance Revisited

 Николай Баранов, 23.04.2012 17:52:52
Michael Safdiah Tea Dance Revisited

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Michael Safdiah Tea Dance Revisited

Wonderful afternoon, of course the last day of the July 4 holiday weekend, this Fire Island Pines summer I could recall, and as I walked past the Blue Whale I saw the place was jammed with people, it was like time was rolled back. Tea Dance was happening -

There had been no announcement, no warning, yet as I walked past the Pavilion, no one was there, and a mob scene was down the walk at the Blue Whale bar. People hanging over the rail, socializing, laughing, and from the music, dancing, I was sure. I was either dreaming or had a deja-vu. I hadn’t seen "Tea" for years, I can’t recall how long now, but I was thrilled. Dance first, ask questions later. I had some fast shopping to do, and I ran from the Pantry, then easing myself in the side access via the ramp I used to use so many years ago, I realized it was happening and I was here. But I sorta had to pinch myself nonetheless.

Stashing my groceries underneath a table (an old trick) I edged inside, (again via another back door which would lead me to the center of the dance floor). Old tricks aren’t forgotten. It had to be the hottest day of the year, in fact of many years, major buff wet bodies in the afternoon, all steamy and doing it as though there never was an interruption. The air was so thick, and the aroma was intense. You could either breathe it, or you could push it away, like a curtain, it was so heavy. I inhaled. It felt great.

Yanking off my tee shirt, mashing it into the back of my shorts, I began to move. The best way to get across a dance floor is to dance your way across. Wet oiled gyrating bodies slip against one another more easily. Dancing with no one in particular, not really caring, I donned my disco "smile" face, and faced the music. My body never forgot the way to move in that space, and I gyrated myself to clear a space in that dense, tight steam-bath mob so I could move. And as I looked down at the floor, at my feet, at the giant terazzo Blue Whale in the concrete beneath my feet and danced on it again, the years since the last Tea melted away. I lifted my glass to John Whyte, the owner, for making this possible again. Faces were everywhere, and they looked happy. I was home - and somehow, I had no idea why, this was one, last maybe-never-again Tea Dance like the old days. Euphoria.

Funny the way you lose something and you don’t realize how much it means until you get it back again. Tea Dance was like that for me. I ran into so many "old timers " who were beaming, I guess like myself they were remembering those wonderful times - Lost alas to the poor timing and architecture of "High Tea" Should I be pissed at losing it for so long, or joyous and grateful for its return? Who cares! Enjoy it now.

Every "mature" face there had a misty-eyed wistful smile, as though we "d been given a chance to re-live some part of a wonderful past. Lots of older and familiar faces. Everyone was moved. I mean, really moved. I think we were dancing the dance of being alive.

Then I saw it - on a table in front of someone who probably never used one, it was brand new. A Tambourine. I tried to play it. I was awkward, it was just noisy at first, till I let it take me over, and I let it play itself in my hands. It began to reflect he music coming from the dance floor. Nice how you never forget old friends. It was perfect, and some angel had to have pushed it towards me.

Writing this now, I recall that last scene from "Long Time Companion", where all the lost characters return to life in one miraculous joyous moment, It was like that in a way, to see all of us "old timers" back at "Tea"

It’s Labor Day weekend now, and the event has been repeated every Sunday Afternoon all summer long. It’s still packed. It’s a way to be sure that whatever made this island community what it is has been restored for a while longer. I urge you to come visit and experience the magic for yourself.
Michael Safdiah Tea Dance Revisited
 Статья / Статьи / Чай / Michael Safdiah Tea Dance Revisited
 Николай Баранов, 23.04.2012 17:52:52

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