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Apr 04 2018

Dancing Through Misadventure In Fort Lauderdale

By Carol Antman for The Island Connection

The morning began with frantic and panic, the top two ways you don’t want to feel when you start a trip. In the interest of marital harmony, I won’t recount the reasons, but suffice it to say that we were running quite late for the early morning flight.

Our misadventure had begun when my husband Mark surprised and delighted me with his wild idea to dash down to Fort Lauderdale to see a Shakira concert. I was enthusiastic about a stadium full of twerking fans and fiery Latin pop music. It totally played into my oft-repeated adage that if you’re not the oldest one in the room, you’re not where the fun is.

A light drizzle didn’t help our timing in the predawn dash to the airport. But Jet Blue begrudgingly allowed our bag to be checked with a large sticker marked “LATE” which seemed to predict it not arriving. We raced to the security line. Just as it was about to be our turn, I asked Mark, “where is your backpack?” It was in the car. Acres away.

Good thing he’s a runner. Our tickets said that the gate was going to close in 3 minutes and I was still standing in line alone when Mark breathlessly sprinted up.

Polite Charlestonians allowed us to apologize our way to the front of the security line; we got through with the required hassle, ran to the gate as they were calling our names on the loudspeaker and, phew, they let us on. Not a good start. After the requisite wifely rehash, I practiced some Lamaze breathing and when we landed about an hour later my pulse was almost normal.

The rest of the day proceeded as delightfully as planned. We explored the “Venice of America” on a lovely boat cruise and checked into our charming Air BnB in Lauderdale by the Sea. By that evening we were glamorously adorned. All panic and frantic had blown away on the ocean breezes. I had feathers in my hair, a sparkly dress; Mark was in a flashy t-shirt he’d bought especially for the occasion. Cocktails in hand, we waited for our UBER driver on the patio. “Here’s a toast to Shakira,” I said, “our muse for the fabulous evening ahead.”

Our friendly driver was amused as we chided each other and recounted our day. We talked about his new (legal) marijuana related enterprise, marital harmony, rock and roll. By the time we finished the 45-minute drive, we’d bonded and he was excited for us as we approached the huge BB&T center where 20,000 music fans were expected. But as we pulled off the highway into the parking area we were shocked to find that we were the only ones there!

A scrawled sign blithely informed us “Shakira Concert Postponed”. What??? How could everyone have known this but us?

Ticketmaster had my email address.

Groans and incredulity followed. Our driver felt so sorry for us. He scrambled to conjure up a Plan B and dropped us off at a crowded bar within walking distance to our cottage where our sparkle and glitter clashed with our moods and the blue-jeaned crowd. We told our story to anyone who would listen over the volume of the local rock band which, thankfully, did not play any Shakira.

The next day we regrouped. “I’m going to wear that dress again tonight and we’re going to go find a place to dance where we’re the oldest ones in the room. That’s what we came for and that’s what we’re going to do!” I insisted. “That’s the spirit!” my ever-willing partner rejoined.

Scouring the local events paper, I cross referenced a nearby dance club with a Youtube video of the band playing that night. It looked promising. Glamorously dressed once again, filled with expectation, we optimistically headed out.

The dance club was above an Italian Restaurant. From the entryway we could hear the band and it sounded pretty good in a wedding band sort of way. “Time to get down and get funky!” I shouted as we climbed the stairs to discover that, no, we were not the oldest ones in the room. In fact we were among the youngest! A couple of men crept to their tables with walkers. Dancing couples leaned heavily on each other as they slowly swayed despite the backbeat. Not a twerker for miles. What could we do but dance anyway? And have a few drinks.

So my glittery dress is hanging disconsolately in my closet, waiting for the next opportunity to be the oldest ones in the room. I’m not giving up on that mantra. But next time, not with Shakira.

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