Tuesday, February 01, 2011
"Cara, what do you do for a living?"
That's always one of those questions that varies in answer depending on the day, the audience, the season, etc., etc. But one thing is constant: a good chunk of my job is spent hanging out with high school kids, in their world. I volunteer after school at one such high school a couple days a week, and we recently started up a GIRLS ONLY! work-out program on Thursdays. Here follows this past Thursday with white girl Cara + seven lovely Latino ladies:
me: "Hey ladies, what do you want to do for a work out today? We could go for a walk outside-"
Lovely Latina #1: "No, we Mexican - we don't walk, we RUN!"*
me: "Okay....so, I brought this really cool work out video called Insanity, and it's insane! Want to do that?"
Lovely Latina #2: "Does it have Mexican music?"
me: "uh, no, I don't think so-"
Lovely Latina #3: "We want to dance! We want to dance to our music!"
me: "As your work out?"
All the Lovely Latinas: "YEAH! Let's dance! Oooh, girl [that's me] we gonna teach you how to dance."
Hence, we found an open classroom and began dancing.
We spent 45 minutes in a circular conga-line, dancing to latest and greatest in Mexican beats. Sometimes we'd then conga out to the hallway and they'd follow the white lady's Stayin' Alive hand motions, laughing all the while. Then we'd head back into the stuffy classroom and shake it out.
"Girl [that's me], this ain't no salsa music - stop moving your hips so much. just dance!"
So we'd form a circle again, and we'd laugh and giggle and teach each other how to shake it properly and mariachi it up some more. By the end of what was a very sweaty dance session, they had one accolade for me:
"Girl [you know that's me], for a beginner, you're pretty good at dancing to beaner* music."
Well, thank you.
I love my "job." I love those days, when the littlest thing puts the biggest smile on your face...when you just keep laughing and telling the story, getting giddier all the while. THIS was one of those days.
*I realize that there are a couple of things that are racially questionable in here, so realize that I'm not making fun of these girls, but simply writing down and echoing their words.