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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Plough Again?

So last night Patrick finally asked. He says, "Not to be rude, and not that you're not welcome, but what are you doing here so frequently lately?" It's a good question really.

When I stopped going to the Plough, there were a few issues. One was that the drive was stressing me out so much that I was on edge when I arrived and was finding it difficult to mellow out and enjoy it. In the past 5 weeks, I've gone 4 times and made it in under an hour each time. Leaving campus a few minutes after 6, I zip out the backside, down Alpine, on to 280, across 92, up 880 to 24, off at 51st, and whiz bang I'm there with the only slow down being at the 92/880 junction. It totally rocks. So, the drive isn't stressful now.

The other major problem I was having at the Plough was the insane, bitchy bartender. After she blew up at the dancers about our use of the toilets, calling us fucking assholes and raging on for several minutes (among other similar episodes), I decided that I really didn't need to purchase anything from her because I didn't need the abuse. And the time with the bathroom thing was with the owner sitting right there. So I figured that if she was okay with her employees treating her patrons like that, then I didn't need to spend my money on that. But the bartender is gone, replaced with another who just doesn't seem like the type to call us names. So I'm quite pleased to buy things from her and leave her a tip. So that's another problem solved.

But beyond the reasons I stopped attending, there's the reasons I keep going back now. The first week, I had a great time. I took the lesson, learned something new, and got a lot of dancing in. The second week, the lesson wasn't new to me, but Patrick said since I'd shown up two weeks in a row, he'd teach my favorite dance (which everyone knows is Trip to the Cottage). This was the nicest compliment I've had in ages, both that he remembered, and was happy to do something for me that makes me happy. The third time I showed up I started learning another new dance which I got to finish learning this week. It's very challenging, but loads of fun and terribly pretty, and I think it's just so very cool that the Plough is a living tradition, still growing and blooming now (around) ten years after the death of its patriarch. And by living tradition, I mean really alive, with new dances being written and learned all the time. It's not merely an Irish ceili doing the traditional dances. It's growing the tradition beyond its (now proscribed) boundaries in a folk tradition as folk traditions are meant to be. And I think that's something that's pretty much completely unique to the Plough community. I feel really privileged to be a part of that.

Add to that a chance to see some of my oldest friends, to dance with them, to catch up, to share hugs and kisses, and to fly through some of my favorite dances, and to go home feeling happy and sweaty and at home. It magical. So yeah, I think I'll be going to the Plough again pretty regularly for a while.

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