You read those lists? The things you should do before you die. For those who love adventure… Go climb Everest and drop a nose on the way down. Go to space with a big wallet and not spaced out on a big joint. Trekking through the jungle on the back of an elephant… And you have to clean up afterwards. Dive with sharks and get to know the meaning of shark bait. Oh, the adventure of it all. But that’s not for me. No thanks.
I don’t mind the adventure. Just too much of a hassle. Not funny enough. Except when things go horribly wrong. And less funny when it happens to me.
Or maybe you want to go for the romantic version. You know. Ride a gondola in Venice. And pinch your nose because of the stench of dirty stale water. See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. And wonder what the hype is of this small little painting and whether she is hiding her bad teeth or a retainer. Witness a solar eclipse and realize your all new eco-friendly car relies on solar energy to start. Go smell the roses in Indonesia and get stung and chased by killer bees.
Nah. Not fun. No thank you. Not for me. Sounds interesting, but it’s just not for me. I like to do edgy stuff. Things I can share with others. I don’t have a long list. I’ve done many of the things I wanted to do. But I have a few left on my list. You’ll see a trend. I give you my Top 5 things I have to do before I die.
5. There’s a party going on right here:
We don’t eat out often. We like home cooking too much. So it is always a special occasion when our little family of four go to eat out. I always look at the other people in the restaurant thinking, “Why aren’t they smiling more or talking to each other?” People tend to sit there and eat. It doesn’t seem to me like they are really enjoying it. Where’s the party? What I really want to do is get up and start dancing in the aisles singing Celebrationby Kool & The Gang. Grab people by the hand and get them to follow me in my dance through the restaurant. Get everyone to join in. Old and young. Singing, “There’s a party going on right here… let’s all celebrate and have a good time…” Wouldn’t that be cool? Unfortunately I can’t sing and life isn’t a music video. But I still want to do it!
4. Dancing in the street:
This one is a bit similar to number 5. It involves dancing and singing. But in the streets. I commute each day to work and back. I listen to my iPod and off I go. And most people look so sad and miserable going to work and even going home. Tired and not having fun. I wish they could hear my iPod song. And cheer up a bit. So what I really want to do it start singing my old favorite – Love is in the air. Tell them that love is everywhere they look around. And get them to join in the fun. Start running and singing through the streets like a bad 80’s music video. Okay, so they can’t hear the music. But they can believe in it right?
Another song. Another setting. I’m at a conference speaking. It’s the last session. Everyone just wants to go home. And I want to end it in a bang. What better than A little less conversation? I can pull off all my dance moves right there on the stage. Even try an Elvis shake of the leg. And pointing to the crowd. The splits might hurt, but it might just be worth a shot. I can get them to join me on stage and do a sing-a-long. Wouldn’t that be cool? Everyone having fun and going home with a smile. I think that might just give them something to actually remember. I don’t think I’ll be invited back to come and speak again though… But it will send another strong message. Less talking, more doing.
2. Pull my finger:
No more singing. I can’t sing in any case. This one is pretty straight forward. I want to be at one of these high powered meetings I sometimes attend. Somewhere with a CEO or ex-President (or future President) or big wig from the UN or G8 or something. It’s photo-op time. We all stand there in our best suits. Getting ready to smile for the cameras. Looking all serious because of course we don’t have a real life. I lean in to the guy next to me and say in a whisper as if sharing a deep moment with him, “Pull my finger”. I just wonder what he would do. Will he laugh loud enough for others to turn around or would he be too serious and turn away from me? Will he pull it? And if he does, what should I do? And do I need to learn this little phrase in different languages to “pull” it off?
1. A little tap dance move:
I’ve been burning to do this one for ages. This one and the restaurant one. I have gotten so close to doing it before. But then stopped before I do it. Maybe one day just before I retire. It’s a big client meeting or a small high level meeting somewhere – maybe the WTO. The group is sitting around a table and deeply involved in solving some or other “complex” issue. Negotiating this way and that way. Frowns everywhere. Serious people doing serious stuff. And I jump up and do a little tap dancing number right there and then. Maybe even jump on the table for everyone to see it. But I’ll be okay with just a short little Fred Astaire or Gregory Hines move next to my chair with my tongue sticking out as I concentrate on my feet tapping. All I need is 5 seconds. I can live with that. Just a quick one. A little tap dancing number and I’ll sit down as if nothing happened, “Now, where were we?” That I really would like to do. And I know that I will. Sometime. Somewhere. Somehow.
You see the trend? It’s about people. And how they react to different things. I do things just to see how people will react. Sometimes I get punished for what I do…
One of my favorite things is to dance in the car. Suffering wife will be driving and I’ll be making all my dancing moves in the passenger seat. You might think being stuck in a seat will limited my movement. No way! I move baby! My head and arms are free. So I can do the wave-to-your-friends-and-to-the-heavens-while-swinging-your-head-from-side-to-side-looking-slightly-down-and-bobbing move. The let’s-make-as-if-we-are-washing-windows-while-biting-the-bottom-lip. And my personal favorite, the arm-extended-pointing-to-a-person-in-the-crowd. Oh, that’s just a few – I have so many moves. And it doesn’t take much to get me going. Or to get me into trouble.
We were driving back from taking the girls to the park on Sunday. And Pink came on the radio singing her new song. I can’t even remember what it sounded like. But it had some disco-type beat. Enough to trigger a “smooth” dance routine. And enough for me to start singing songs dedicated to those driving in the car or cars next to us. But actually, it started before that already.
I love waving at people. Especially people I don’t know. It gives them something to think about. I always imagine them in their cars. Bored and grumpy. And all of a sudden they see a guy waving at them from the car coming from the opposite direction. But in a flash the guy is gone. And they think, “Who was that?” It’ll keep them busy for a few minutes. I generally time it perfectly for them to wave back on instinct and then do the “wondering” as they carry on in the opposite direction. I love it. Hell, my oldest daughter and me sit on the front porch and do it at the cars driving past our house! No clue who the heck they are. But I bet you they’ll remember us for a few minutes while they try to figure out who those two idiots were. Haha! Some even wave back when they drive past us our house on another day. Spread some love baby.
But the suffering wife isn’t always that impressed. She just laughs and shakes her head. And say the word I hear so often, “You!” It generally goes with the shake of the head. And the more she shakes her head and laughs the more I’ll do it. The girls love it. I start the dance moves up front and they do theirs at the back. And the three of us wave at cars as they drive past. Fun in the car.
But on Sunday the suffering wife pulled one on us. We were dancing and waving at cars and she stopped the car. She has promised to do this so often. This time she did it. She kicked us out the car and told us to walk home! It wasn’t that far to walk but still. Actually, she kicked me out the car and the girls decided to join me! So we walked home.
This is what I’ll remember though. My wife decided to take another drive around the block to make as if she is “driving away”. I laughed and so did my oldest daughter. We were in a silly mood already and the wife was joining in. But the little one? She cried. Scared that mom just drove away. Scared that she won’t come back. Shame. We made it into more fun by hiding away (very unsuccessfully) behind the bushes from my wife. She started laughing again. Nervously.
But all I wanted to say to her was, “Don’t worry girl. Mom’s not going anywhere. Because the thing we do is love each other”. I don’t have to do anything before I die. Because I am already doing it.