CRAY CRAY CRAZYVILLE....ALL ABOARD!
You can’t make this up! I was struggling with the title of this particular blog. So you be the judge.
You wanna do WHAT? Followed by the story, ‘Sybils return’
I’m going to start backwards. We’re going to start with the icing on the cake!
“I’m from the Netherlands and I would like to teach you to dance”.
This is the statement that is written on the t-shirt of theguy from Netherlands. Seem harmless. So why is this part of the cray cray land?
“Nonya, I have a question to ask you?” he asked.
He was so deep into thought before asking the question, I didn’t know what to expect.
“So what’s on your mind Netherland?” I asked.
“This is my tee shirt that I had made and I want to offer dance lessons?” he replied with very serious conviction. Looking at this tall 6 foot guy, I never would have guessed that he was a dancer, especially when he seems like he is awkward with even walking. But you never know these days.
“So youuu want to offer dance lessons?”
“Yes. I want to offer people around the neighborhood dance lessons. Do you think I would be able to go up to people and offer dance lessons?”he asked.
I didn’t know where to begin with the questions. This awkward walking tall skinny white guy want to teach black people dance lessons? When I looked at him, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘RhythmLESS Nation’ by Janet Jackson. But I try not to be quick to judge.
After trying to keep myself from laughing, I reinstated the possibility of his question in my mind.
“So you want to go up to black folks IN THIS neighborhood to dance? Wellll….what kind of dance are you talking about?” I asked.
“Dutch dancing.” He replied.
Ok. I could see that some people may be interested in learning something new. No Cray CRAY possibility here. So far….
“So how would you propose to having the lessons? People are busy. When would you be able to have these lessons,” I asked because I’m thinking there is no way in hades you will be bringing folks to this house.
“I was thinking to just have the lessons in the street,” he stated.
Eyes opened wide.
“What do you mean having the lessons on the street?” I asked.
“Either on the street or in the park?” he replied.
Still….his answers are not registering in my mind. As if I was having some kind of alzseimer, I didn’t under the nature of his statements.
“So you want to dance on the street? To schedule a time for them to come to you to do dance lessons? If that’s the case, there are some places I would suggest that you can go to get clientale. They have special days with the Dancing in the Park downtown that you can go to when they are teaching the people to dance for the first hour to different type of music. You could pass out some cards to give them dance lessons.” I replied, even tho I still couldn’t comprehend the full magnitude of what he was about to say, especially since he only was going to be in town for 2 weeks.
“No, I would just go up to them, ask them, in the neighborhood, ‘would you like for me to teach you to dance’and teach them my move, right there, on the street… (on the spot!)”, he said.
Did I hear him right? Was he serious? Did we just enter bizzaro world and I was being punked by Ashton Kucher? After clearing my throat from the disbelief, he continues, “do you have any recommendations of where I can go in the neighborhood to ask people?”
(Yeah…Funny Farms Hills Institution)
“I don’t know. This is unusual request. Wellll….maybe go up 63rd street, around the college?” I replied. I just didn’t know what to tell him but he seemed determined and I wanted to make sure that if you’re going to ‘jump off the bridge after taking your pills’, at least I could direct him to a less dangerous bridge. Worse he could do was break his ego.
“Well I was thinking across the park on the other side?” he asked.
“HECKS NO HARPO! I wouldn’t go the other side in the day light. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Aside from thinking that this whole idea was a bad case of CRAY CRAY, it was clear that I had to direct him somewhere…anywhere that won’t get him beat up and left in an abandon building. Every suggestion I had a first, he would offer another suggestion of a place to go. It was as if I would say, ‘go to Brooklyn for your project, but he really wanted to go to Beirut in the middle of war to see if they would be more receptive!
But I continued…. “well black people are going to think something is strange with you for one thing. But they may even entertain your ‘behavior’ out of curiosity or in need of a good joke for the day…(CRAY CRAY), but you know what, anything is possible. They are going to ask for you to demonstrate the dance first. So show me what you would show them.”
Now I pictured in my head a Dutch dance, with costume dresses and traditional dance. But what I was to view next….welll just say, ‘Houston, we have lift off ….to Cray Crayland!’
Imagine taking a large alley garbage can and pulling that garbage can towards you twice. Now swing your arms from the back of your back to the front of your body to push the garbage down into the bin. Do this twice and then bounce. Oh…did I say, there will be NO MUSIC? That’s the dance he wanted to teach.
With all the awkwardness of a dancer with no rhythm….that was what he proposed to teach the residents in the Englewood neighborhood….’The Trashman’.
At this point, my head is swimming with thoughts. Where do I even start? WHAT THE BAHEJEES!
I could only imaging several scenarios: 1) Could the people think that he was mocking them and then beat the crap out of him, 2) They see that he may not have taken his medication and thus think, that poor guy…3) the residents of Englewood could view him as one more crazy guy on the street, 4) Think he’s from crazyville and take his wallet and 5) Ask him to show them while thinking they are punked by Ashton Kucher.
All of these scenarios are visible and had real consequences. Oh and 6) they beat the stew out of him. But nobody beats crazyp eople….tooo much.
After a long discussion on the subject, he happily leaves for the main street of Englewood and ask random people to show them how to dance. When he comes back, he’s very happy. Several asked him to show them the dance and one went along and danced on the street with him.
But was that enough?
NOOOO….by no means. Inspired by the reaction of the people, he ask if I could go along with him and and videotape him.
Let’s just say, the day after, I thought long and hard about taking another drink. When he asked me that, I had been drinking a beer and in all of my laughter, I said sure I would go, after I go to my meeting. But when the day came, I’m thinking, ‘what the hades were you thinkin!’
Sunday afternoon, the streets were quiet. Mississippi who was supposed to come with me…bailed. The plan was to go to her barber shop and do the video. So I was left alone with cray cray. So what did I do? I did what any cray cray would do.
I took him to 63rd& King Drive….CRAY CRAY CENTRAL! The only corner that I know is surrounded by six liquor stores, a boat load of toothless crays crays on every corner, not to mention, some questionable characters that in any other time, can get ugly. This place makes Englewood look like Beverly Hills.
So he get out of the car, go up to a crowd of about 20 full on 'characters' and with his t-shirt like superman, ask folks if he could teach them to dance. The looks on their face was priceless…as was mine. When one asked him to do the dance, they looked at each other like ‘is he serious’.
I’m dying on the inside with laughter. I can’t make this stuff up! So I breakout the video camera.
When the ‘toothless ladies’ on the street started dancing with him, I started laughing myself so hard that I get out of the car to explain that he’s new to the country and without saying ‘he’s special’, I started filming ‘The Trashman’. That’s when I realized, ‘I DON’T HAVE MY TEETH IN MY MOUTH!’
That made me laugh even more because there were at least three ladies with no teeth while he's dancing in the middle of the street as the folks looking on like, 'what in the world is going on'.
So there I was, toothless Nonya taping cray cray Netherlands as he do the ‘trashman’ dance in the streets of 63 & King Drive. PRICELESS
Video is provided next.
Afterwards, we went to a barber shop where I didn’t have the courage to go into the shop with him. He went in alone. But after about 20 minutes I started to look for him since the door was locked. He came out afterwards stating that they let him demonstrate his dance and one guy did get out of his chair to do it with him and he was able to tape it.
Unbelievable. Who say’s black people don’t have a sense of humor!
And yet….this event, was only the icing on this CRAY CRAY CAKE!
Now let’s get to the cake shall we…..