As I go into my weekly line dancing class, I notice that everyone is gathered around the laptop watching the recording of one of our latest lessons. Line dancing has hit the Alps in a big way. It has also hit me like one of my husband’s tractors – an essential fix of hillbillyness that I cannot bear to miss.
I stare at the screen with interest. I started in September and have always thought that I had a fairly cool stance for a beginner. I bend to look closer and then straighten, horrified.
We have always been told to dance with our hands in our pockets. A closer examination of the other dancers on the screen showed that this means fingertips gently poised. Watching the grainy film, I see that mine are jammed in up to knuckle level and held there with grim determination. I must have some unconscious dread that if I let them loose they will whip out propeller style when I turn and smack my nearest neighbour in the gob. I also notice gloomily that my favourite jeans have suffered from the unaccustomed abuse and now have pockets that sag outwards in eternal bagginess.
I look at the offending laptop, then away again, cringing. My elbows are sticking out at odd angles compared to everyone else’s, flapping to the music like a chicken in the yard. To complete the avian effect, I notice that I am often perched on one leg whilst I work out where to put the other.
I glance around me and see others wearing the same bemused expression. Apparently I am not the only cowboy in the room who dances like his horse.
Later, as I sit in the car and wait for the night watchman to lift the barrier and let me out, I reflect with a wry grin, that practicing in the main hall of the local ‘hôpital psychiatrique’ is strangely fitting for this particular activity.