So I went for a walk around the North Hollywood Park this afternoon. As I began my stroll, the sky was white with clouds and there was only the slightest of breezes. Two women, just past 40, walked and talked the power walk of women determined to stay fit. It’s working.
Four people were walking four different dogs, all about the size of a large handbag, and all barking at each other, marking each tree as their territory.
There were two soccer games, one between a team in neon green and another in blue. The other game had red shirts and white shirts. The games were fast and fierce, players not to be trifled with by passerby. As I rounded my first corner, one of the goals came tumbling down, and only after a swift doubletake did I realize that someone was taking it down because the game had ended.
A walk further into the park revealed several smaller groups working out, exercising their muscles by tugging at stretch cords while their partners held the other ends tight. Another man, all by himself, was face down lifting his feet into the air. I assume this is some kind of nifty back workout, but I will have to report back to you on that.
Finally, the highlight of my park experience — at which point the Sun lifted from her nap and decided to stretch some shining down on us — featured a man and a woman, over fifty feet apart from one another yet somehow related. The woman, a blond in her early twenties, pierced nose and not wearing shoes, sat in a lotus position, barely acknowledging anyone walking past her, eyes flying over to the tall Asian man wearing the hat and tap shoes.
This man had two boards at his feet, and a large silver suitcase set up behind him. Every few seconds he would slip into a quick shuck, or a smooth jive, and tap away for a few beats before coming to rest and starting again. But the second board sat empty, without a tapper to create a noise. I assumed this tapper was the young woman with the blond hair and pierced nose, but I walked on before I could find out.
I imagine they’re a couple, and she was giving him space so he could hear each tap, each scrape, and each beat of his tap routine which is only now shaping up for a future performance, at which he will rule the floor, take a bow to thunderous applause, and perhaps catch a few generous roses from the impressed crowd. One of these roses he will bring backstage to this blond woman, who is a backup dancer and very proud of her boyfriend. They will kiss and hold each other, proud to share this moment together, the first of many successful evenings. Perhaps they will marry and create a tap routine for their wedding as their first dance, one of those novelty videos we’ll see on the web and all wish we could be as romantic as that couple is.
For now, they practice at the park. One taps away on one of the tiny stages while the other sits far in the distance, eyes closed in a meditative love state, memorizing the rhythm and sounds of the other’s steps, falling in love with them beat by beat.