Pandemiversary Post: If a car dances in an empty parking lot and there’s no one there to see…
On Day 9 of the original, very first self-quarantine, the three of us were “working” from home. My fifteen-year-old looked up from her spot at the kitchen counter and said, “It sounds like a dentist’s office in here.” I paused to listen for some drilling, and then realized she meant the classical music Lorene had on the radio.
Nine days later, it was getting to me. The sameness. The sameness ultiplied by the seeming endlessness.
Synchronized driving. The idea fairly flew into my head. Maybe it didn’t come completely out of the blue. Maybe my mind had been machinating: We can still go places in cars! Look at all the empty parking lots! I want a bullhorn! Maybe it had been embellishing its memory of Merle Ukeles’s “work ballets.”
Synchronized driving was the kind of quivering jelly of an idea you wouldn’t run by anybody for fear they’d breathe on it, let alone crush it. I sat in my studio that Saturday afternoon, drafted an invitation, pressed post, and watched it pop up on our town’s community page.
CARDANCING IN THE TIME OF CORONA…
I need a couple dozen driver-volunteers.
Please sign up below and include the model and color of your car. CARDANCE (as I imagine it) is not dancing IN your car but WITH your car, a collaboration which will be aerially filmed in a parking lot in the next couple of weeks.
Why, what (else) are you doing with y o u r time?
A half hour later, there were over forty drivers.
Our first official dance number, the Mexican Hat Dance, came together in three practices. When you count the careographing, I think I listened to the Mexican Hat Dance a hundred times (roughly ninety-eight too many). The second selection still makes my heart skip, skip! not skip a beat, whenever I hear it. Here are our cars dancing to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Everybody”:
Our last dance was to Ray Charles’ “America the Beautiful” for COVID’s first 4th of July. No literal fireworks, but the police chief and his wife led the final serpentine (with lights and sirens) and passengers emerged through sunroofs to crash cymbals…
This isn’t a maxim, or a slogan. Sometimes, don’t ask. Just do it.