I am an Old Guy crippled by Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Diabetic Neuropathy in my feet, legs and hands. I move, within my world, in constant pain despite a proliferation of modern medications accompanied by their baggage of mischievous side-effects. I also suffer with a secretive malady kept closeted for half a century of decades . . . I suffer from SDS.
Here I am . . . a cripplity old guy with diabetic nerve pain who was born to dance in his spirit and heart.
How ironic is that? But then, I have always had Spontaneous Dancing Syndrome. Don’t know how I received the affliction, but at times it has been an enjoyable attribute. And then at times, it has been a poke-a-stick in your eye irritant and embarrassment with varied tones of shame, guilt and attention getting public humiliation.
When young, I was admonished for my early dancing experimentation. I was repeatedly told to keep still and behave yourself. I also heard many times over that Baptist don’t make love standing up for fear of being seen and accused of dancing. When I was ten years old that statement made no sense at all.
Though I never considered SDS an affliction or crippling disability, it was often exceptionally embarrassing. This was especially true, as for one instance, when my mother saw my impromptu dancing in the kitchen late one night. Neither of us spoke of the somewhat graphic and perpetually haunting incident during the next thirty years.
“Will you quit that!”
My SDS was, and still is not understood by my Sweetheart of almost thirty years. The strange and secretive affliction remains to this day a frequent irritant . . . often to the point of threatened physical violence. Years ago, I well remember shopping at the grocery store and by accident found that my tennis shoes made a peculiar crisp squeaking sound when raked across the polished linoleum tiles.
Well, there I went . . . down one deserted aisle then another . . . doing a spontaneous version of the classic ‘Shuffle off to Buffalo’ step. I was having a time of it and got lost in the moment. Squeak, squeak, squeak … turn right … turn left … squeak, squeak, squeak!
Without warning, squeak, squeak, I was nearly knocked sideways into the daily special can goods display. The force and high angle of the shoulder smacking was recognizable. “Will you quit that,” she said with a frown.
A tentative squeak, squeak followed . . . and that drew the ‘you’ll pay for that later’ look from my Sweetheart.
I had received a loud non-verbal cease, desist, and imminent physical abuse warning. It was understood . . . after all I wasn’t completely dumb. So . . . any additional rhythmic SDS gyrations would involve only subtle hip, rear-end or torso movement. I could accompany my low key, almost but not quite undetectable, movements with humming or soft whistling, but . . . those musical components, as performed by my non-talented self, were also considered irritants of the worse nature and to be avoided at all costs.
“Can’t you keep that foot still?”
Spontaneous Dancing Syndrome seldom stays dormant. Often in public or sitting in my chair working on the computer, my foot will shake, or gyrate to a long remembered tune. There are times when I am not even aware of the movement. My Sweetheart often comments about it, and I guess such an occurrence during quiet times, or not, could be bothersome to those not encumbered, or educated with such a malady as SDS.
As for me … I will behave the best I can for a fella hobbling close to seventy years old with known and suspected health problems. I may be seen at the diner or coffee shop sitting quietly or near about asleep. Don’t be fooled or lulled into a false sense of assumption. I just may be ‘Shuffling Off to Buffalo’ in my mind’s eye.
The smile on my face will be my tell … squeak, squeak, squeak … turn right … turn left … squeak, squeak, squeak!