Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Peace/love: a golden oldie

I went out dancing the other night.

No, not ballet. My ballet days are over, I'm afraid.

And no, most assuredly not the tango. My tango days are over, I'm very happy to say.

This was dancing to the music of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Golden oldies, silver oldies, brass oldies, tin oldies. The music of that last decade, the 80s, is a bit unfamiliar to me. But the rest of the songs rang a bunch of pleasant although somewhat rusty bells.

A portion of those bells involved raucous fraternity dances with spilled beer and even cigarettes (yes, yes, I smoked! But never inhaled; I just enjoyed making the most well-formed and longlasting smoke rings on earth.) Other bells rang for even earlier memories--of dancing in somebody's knotty-pine-paneled basement to an old record player with a stack of 45s that dropped, one by one, onto a turntable.

This dance the other night was held in a so-called ballroom, a large hall with one of those revolving globes with mirror fragments that cast moving points of light onto the wooden floor. It was a lot of fun; I think I'll do it again some time (the next day I was only slightly, rather than terribly, sore). I discovered that one of the benefits of getting more--ahem, mature--is that I don't have to worry quite so much about making a fool of myself on the dance floor. I just assume I'm doing so--at least a little bit--and, at this point, who really cares?

You might think, by the way, that being a former ballet dancer would make a person confident as a social dancer. Not so; the two genres are exceedingly different.

This was a Valentine's dance. You could tell that because most of us women--and even some of the men--managed to wear something red. And there was chocolate all around.

And then, as the evening was coming to an end, the youngish DJ came over to me and handed me a gift. Or maybe it was a prize (although for what, I don't know; maybe just for the courage to have gotten out there).

It was a tiny object sealed in a little plastic bag, sort of like something one might find in a crackerjack box. When I opened it, I found this pendant on a chain (those are sparkly blue rhinestones, by the way):

Maybe the DJ was trying to tell neo-neocon the chickenhawk warmonger something or other. Or maybe not; maybe his hawk eye just recognized an ex-semi-hippie-chick when he saw one.

But looking at that peace symbol brought back some other memories. And wouldn't it be wonderful if peace--real peace, meaningful peace, peace because the need to make war had gone away--were possible? That's the only kind of peace I can imagine, not a false peace that happens because we're tired of defending ourselves, or because we're lulled into a false sense of security by the lying words of an enemy.

I remember back when "All we are saying is give peace a chance" actually seemed like all one needed to say on the subject. Would that it had been so then; would that it were so now.

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