What Have You Done For Me Lately.

23 Nov

I was on my way to salsa, on the train, minding my own business, when a woman and her little son came into our car, followed by a flurry of baggage, tossed-in by 2 other women, who, having successfully loaded the cargo on the train, seemed fit to take their leave. The first thing I did was to give this woman my seat, which was closest to the door, and then I took a seat across and opposite from her.

The second thing I did was to assess the situation. It was immediately apparent that there was no way that this woman could negotiate 5 pieces of baggage + her little son, all by herself. What was she thinking? What were her pre-train baggage handlers/ friends thinking? Other men in the vicinity were thinking the same thing: damsel in distress. It didn’t hurt her plight that she was attractive, or that her son was angelic and called me, “Da”. My pre-salsa salsa gigolomojo was already ramping-up, and so when I looked her in her eyes, she smiled hesitantly, probably sensing that I wanted more than just to help her with her bags.

The woman and her son were headed to the airport, and at the change of trains, without too much fuss, another passenger and I helped this woman with her baggage, onto the next train. The other passenger didn’t wait for any thanks, and simply retraced his steps to get back onto his own route of travel for the day. I was staying on this train, but was to get off shortly. I ran a few scenarios through my head, such as asking for the train driver for assistance – unlikely, asking fellow passengers to take-up this quest I started – embarrassing, letting nature and survival-of-the-fittest take its course – not nice. It was inevitable that I would be seeing this quest to its conclusion.

As my stop came and went, I began to reflect on how it came to be, that I should even have this internal debate of whether to abandon these visitors to Canada, or to go to salsa. I looked at this woman, her son nestled to sleep with his cherubic arms wrapped around her neck. She was the living embodiment of “Madonna and Child” », causing travel-weary Torontonians of all walks to look and smile, and think of having a baby. Being a salsa gigolo, I naturally looked for her naked ring finger, and confirmed my suspicion. How could I have even considered abandoning them? The guilt of being male weighed heavily on me, and I wondered if there was some salsa karmic power at play.

I looked out the window, as the train came above ground, to look at houses and buildings that I had never seen before. I began to think about how different this day had turned from my expectations. With each stop, I felt my salsa gigolomojo draining with unrequited salsera. Thoughts turned towards relationships and responsibilities, salsa gigolomojo and irresponsibilites. We transferred to a bus, and with just a bit of awkwardness, I found myself on the last leg of our journey, together, with this woman and her child. The woman smiled again, and thanked me, knowing that I had not planned on going to the airport that day. The little boy rewarded me with another, “Da”.

When we got to her stop, I helped her unload her bags, and saw that she was able to find a luggage cart. I then settled back onto the bus, my conscience finally at ease, to let this woman and her son go, to face the world again, alone. The bus doors closed before she could get back to say goodbye, and all I was left with, was the sound of her voice, calling to her little son, who had evidently wandered off. There really was nothing more I could do for her.

On the ride back, I came to realize that I approached salsa this same way, and that all I can do for a salsera, is to to give her a dance. If I feel I have nothing to give a salsera, I tend not to ask her to dance. If I feel that a salsera feels I have nothing to give her, I tend not to ask her to dance. There’s nothing I can do for her. I think salseras often think the same way. What can you do for me? What have you done for me lately? This is natural. This is survival-of-the-fittest-salsa-gigolo.

On another note, when I reflect now on my unintended journey, it occurs to me that I had enjoyed all the pleasures of a break-up, without any of the relationship. Being a salsa gigolo is a bit like this too: All heat, no kitchen. Maybe being a salsa gigolo is an escape from being a man? Maybe being a salsera is also an escape? All heat.

Song, by Janet Jackson »:

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