So there are two good stories from last week’s Lithuanian work trip and I was going to start out with the pervy one but I’ll save that for tomorrow. Today I’ll tell you the story of my debut as a Lithuanian folk dancer.
First, I’d like to note that contrary to popular belief, I do not (always) sign myself up for these ridiculous events. In fact, this one time I was sitting quietly, minding my own business during our traditional dinner (which the nation we’re staying in hosts), when the General from my office, my big boss, decides razz me by making me act like a circus clown in front of 150 people in a small beer hall. With no warning.
I’m sitting at a table with ten of my friends. We had just finished a 4 course meal and there were 4 or so empty bottles of wine on the table. I’m wearing an old dress I hate. I’m stuffed into nylons I hate. I’m wearing shoes one inch too big and my hair looks stupid. This is the night he decides to play games with me during his speech, though it’s not shocking really, because he loves giving me a hard time because he knows it makes everyone laugh. And he also knows I love attention.
So there I am, enjoying his speech and sitting back MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS WHEN HE SAYS,
“And thank you to our host, Colonel XYZ of Lithuania, for his generosity in hosting. What you don’t know about Colonel XYZ is that he’s a skilled Lithuanian folk dancer and his dancing goes back to when he’s a child. He’s going to do a dance for us tonight and all we’re missing is a lovely lady to join him. Hmmmm, now who do we have?” He pretends to look around and I realize I’ve been set up.
Half an hour earlier, one of my coworkers had brought me over a shot, put it on the table in front of me and said, “This is a peace offering.” I of course didn’t care what it was for and ignored the fact that I didn’t need a peace offering and as I started to piece this together, I started to get that attractive neck rash thing I get when I’m going to throw up due to nerves and anxiety. I started kind of rocking in my seat like Rain Man and saying over and over again, pleasedearfuckinggodno.pleasedearfuckinggodno.
But oh yes.
“You know, I haven’t seen Heather a lot this conference, which isn’t normal. So WHERE IS HEATHER? HEATHER, COME ON UP. I know you’ll be a good sport about all this….” Ohmygod. First of all, Heather was BUSY WITH WORK ALL WEEK and secondly, jesus FUCK ME, the world hates me.
Now I know some of you reading this are thinking, yeah right. You are an attention whore, Heather. You love this shit. And ok, to be fair, I do, to an extent. But I love public speaking. I love telling a story. I love making people laugh. I do NOT love folk dancing in front of 150 people doing a dance I’ve never done while all wined-up wearing a dress with too much cleave. Really. I just wanted to throw up or shape shift.
I feel my face turn bright red and my hands start shaking. Everyone in the room is either 1. laughing 2. cheering 3. chanting. I was trying to fake smile, walk and not pass out the entire walk up the aisle to the dance floor. The dance floor, which I should note, which was featuring these folksy people,
Not an exaggeration. These people were performing at our dinner.
and the very important Colonel, who I had only met once, on opening day, and we only shook hands and certainly didn’t set up a fucking dance date for later in the week.
I make it to the front of the room and the General hugs me, cheering is still going on and I say to everyone, I SWEAR TO GOD IF THIS MAKES FB I WILL….At which point everyone claps to mask the fact that I was going to threaten death on soldiers from 40 countries but that’s what you fucking get for making me circus clown of the night. Then I tell my big boss he’s dead to me, which is also not acceptable but he got quite the kick out of it as he launched me into the arms of the Colonel.
“I’m really sorry,” I whispered as I took his hands in a criss-cross, folksy manner. “I am the world’s worst dancer.”
“That makes two of us,” he said with a smile as he dragged me clear across the floor.
For five and a half minutes STRAIGHT, I was sweating, wheezing, stomping my feet, swinging my arms, twirling around, faking smiling and trying my hardest not to pass the fuck out. Every single time he twirled me it was for a minute and all I could think as I faced the blurry crowd was just keep breathing, just keep breathing, as I saw flashes and video taping from the crowd.
Yep. And around and around I went.
And finally, after 5 minutes and 21 seconds, it was done. Sweaty and red faced, I made it back to my seat, slammed back some wine and watched 8 iPhone videos of me dancing like an idiot.
**There are plenty of videos of this. When I have one, I will post it. That is a promise.