Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Dancing Queen(s)

Carpooled to work today with Billie Joe Armstrong and the rest of the Green Day bunch, and was busy belting out Holiday as loud as I could without shattering the windshield when I happened to glance in my rearview mirror. In a white minivan behind me sat two Salvation Army folks. I know about Sal Army folks because I volunteered for them back in the day (coerced by a pushy neighbor, so it wasn't entirely altruistic).

As I sat there screaming lyrics that deride the policies of the American government (what can I say, they're catchy) I watched them. They were like the portrait "American Gothic," by Grant Wood. Was it Wood? I think it's Wood. Hold on...lemme Google...ah yes, Grant Wood. Damn, I'm good. Anyway, the Sal Army couple sat there, in their stiff white shirts with epaulets stating that they're majors in the army or what have you, not speaking, not singing, not smiling. They looked downright miserable.

I remembered when I volunteered for Sal Army and a group of us planned a fundraiser for the Women's Auxiliary. Mind you, the Women's Auxiliary has been around for many many moons and is quite successful, but frankly is in danger of dying off. Literally. My neighbor and I were the youngest women there by about 50 or 60 years. I was never able to participate in their weekly meetings because they are held on Wednesdays. During the day. When I work. (Memo to groups like this and our church's women's are dismissing an entire segment of the population because you assume that women do not are wrong, and you are shortchanging your groups by not including some damn fine, strong, independent women who could be valuable contributors if you'd only meet during an evening or on a weekend. Wake up already.)

The Sal Army Women's Auxiliary holds a few fundraisers during the year. A card party, which sounds like fun but is also scheduled during the day. When I work. A fashion show, which is quite lovely and scheduled, that's right, during the day. When I work. Are you getting the picture here? Their other main fundraiser is an "arts & crafts" type show, at which I am willing to purchase virtually nothing even though it's actually scheduled over a weekend so I could attend. I'm just not that into plastic canvas and other household items fashioned from yarn. Not to say it's not perfectly's just not my bag, baby. Although once, in their used cookbooks section, I did find a rare gem that slipped through the Sal Army censors: a book called "Patio Daddy-O" which is a completely tongue-in-cheek take on 1950s men and their grills (and their wives who carry two cantaloupes on a tray at chest-level...seriously, that's one of the illustrations). The book is hysterical, and is now proudly part of the Zlatic Family Library.

But I digress (as I often do). Bear with me here, I do have a point. I think. Maybe.

So my neighbor and I were trying to plan a fundraiser for the Women's Auxiliary that would hopefully also serve as a new member recruitment tool. New members as in younger women. Women like us. Women who could proudly continue to carry the Women's Auxiliary banner and keep the tradition alive. And maybe schedule some meetings and events after business hours. Several ideas were bantered around, and I suggested a nice dinner/dance.

The members of my table looked aghast. I started trying to fish out whatever food was apparently caught in my teeth. One of them leaned over and whispered, "Oh no, there is no dancing at Salvation Army events. That's baaaaad." What? Are you kidding me? I immediately felt like busting out with a rendition of Footloose but somehow managed to contain myself.

I do believe that was the demise of my volunteer relationship with the Salvation Army. Yeah, I worked some special events here and there, Toy Town and the Wherenberg Cans Film Festival and such, but my days (well, nights really, since I work during the day) with the Women's Auxiliary were over.

I am a person who loves music. Who has to sing when a great song comes on. Who can't help but move in tune with the beat. I can't control it. I just do it (much to the horror of my family, friends and acquaintances, and innocent strangers who happen to be around). Zozo has, fortunately or unfortunately, I haven't decided yet, apparently inherited this trait from me, as she wiggles to everything from her activity table music to the Lou Fusz commercial that plays on our classical music station. She ignores Mozart and Wagner, but loves the Fusz jingle. What's up with that? (If you'd like to listen to the Lou Fusz jingle, and dance to it yourself, all you have to do is click here. Try it, and tell me what you think. And admit danced, didn't you?)

So, back to my original Sal Army musings. Someone please tell me how dancing is wrong, or immoral, or evil, or work of the devil. Because I simply do not understand.

This is all what ran through my head this morning, as I looked in my rearview mirror and watched the Sal Army people sitting quietly in their minivan. And I felt sorry for them, because they are missing out on a tremendous joy in life by not being able to get their groove on to a catchy tune.


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