Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dancing Fatigue

Last night may have marked 1year from my first trip to the Lion's Den on a Wednesday night for salsa night. That first night was one of the most memorable of college. I had gone on the assumption that a friend would be there to teach me the ropes. They were not. I had however, dragged three of my friends into coming with me and certain hilarity ensued involving a long island iced tea exploding like a fountain into an unsuspecting bystanders face. It was amazing. I began going consistently at the end of January this last semester, a much needed outlet for added stress of winter months and thesis work.

Last night, there was no stress to be had but it became the longest I had stayed at the Den (yes, we stayed till closing!). And as has happened many times, the night ended with me wilting in the front seat while Fraleigh graciously gave a ride home and we extolled, in small, exhausted voices, the beauty of dancing fatigue.

What is dancing fatigue? It is a sweet exhaustion that comes after hours of dancing. I've experienced it primarily after ballroom socials and a few salsa nights: times when the fun of the thing is the primary goal, when dancing past your typical energy levels is easy and even unnoticeable. While dancing, there is no fatigue. None. Perhaps stamina decreases over the hours but not enthusiasm. No, the fatigue hits when the music and body stops.

It comes in a wave. I call it The Wave.

It is important to ride this wave into sleep. If one tries to push through it, the gentle exhaustion will turn into a monster that keeps you too tired to sleep. No, it must be prepared for. I usually go through certain steps when I get home to make it the most effective Wave because I know that once it hits, I will be completely incapacitated. I start with taking my contacts out because there is nothing harder than trying to get my contacts out once The Wave hits and I'm mostly asleep rather than awake. If the night is hot, I take a cold shower, but (alright, confession time) I usually just change into my comfiest and baggiest pjs, let my stiff-with-salt hair stand on end, and defer cleanliness to another time. Then (and this the best part), I eat. I'm always hungry when I finish with a social dance. Ravenous. The kind of hunger that happens after swimming in a pool for hours as a kid and only wanting salty things.  I eat 1 of 3 things 1) toast with tea 2) cereal with lots of honey or 3) a heavily peanut buttered sandwich with honey. All of these foods remind me of 1am and waiting for the Wave.

It usually hits halfway into whatever I'm eating. I finish as quickly as possible and get to bed and get comfortable with my mounds of blankets and pillows (it's a Ray thing). In a few minutes, I am not awake and I am likely dreaming dreams that I will never remember when I awake.

Pillow marks will line my face and arms in the morning-my body won't turn or thrash in the night. And it will be the best sleep I can remember because I won't remember any of it at all.

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