By Wes Koseki
“Spontaneity” is defined as behavior that is the result of impulse, not planning.
I spent one year as a Boy Scout when I was in second grade. I never learned to tie complex knots or survive in the wild a la Bear Grylls, but my impressionable mind locked the motto “Be prepared” into my young memory.
That may have been where it all went wrong.
Throughout high school, my mom always made me call her when I arrived at friends’ houses, when I left friends’ houses, when I arrived at another place, and probably would have made me call her to let her know when I took a breath if I hadn’t let her know of my plans so often.
In my mind, there always needed to be a plan, a specific route, a meeting point and back ups to all of those in case something went wrong.
Routines and plans were friends. Anything unexpected would always be bad.
This behavior followed me to UCI. Three years ago, I was creating a routine that included waking up, eating at commons, walking through Aldrich Park to class and returning to Ondas. Simple, comfortable and always sticking to the plan.
During fall quarter, my friends, Stacey and Jill, had taken a swing dance class at the ARC and always had bright smiles when they practiced. With no dancing background, abnormally large feet and sweaty hands, I instinctively told myself I wouldn’t be able to do something like that, but part of me envied having smiles like that.
As the trees grew bare and snow began appearing on the tops of the mountains in the distance, Stacey and Jill browsed the ARC catalogue and discovered that a ballroom dancing class was being offered during winter quarter.
I said no before they even finished asking. My ignorant logic said that if I would try any sort of dancing it would be the unofficial cornerstone of UCI: break dancing.
Disappointed, but not broken, Stacey and Jill continued to suggest taking the class using reasons like not wanting to dance with guys they didn’t know, the first class was free and the fact I wasn’t doing anything that night anyway. I should have never shared my class schedule with them.
My neurotic need to have a plan and routine had created a wall around the impulsive part of my mind, but slowly that wall began to crack.
I thought to myself, it could be fun. But I’ll look stupid. It would be something unique to learn. But I’d rather play “Halo.” Well, being good at “Halo” isn’t as unique as knowing how to ballroom dance. But I’ll still look stupid. Everyone is learning too so I won’t look too silly. But — screw it. I’m going ballroom dancing.
A small group of us traveled to the ARC that night for the free ballroom dance class. A man with thick black-rimmed glasses introduced himself as James, informing us that he would be teaching the class and we hit the ground running, or dancing rather.
My palms became clammy, my legs turned to jelly and sweat began forming around my hairline. It wasn’t from intense dancing, but self-consciousness and nervousness at the thought that I was attempting to smoothly step in time to the beat with around thirty other people.
Slowly, my mind locked onto the rhythm and my black canvas Vans became more comfortable with the steps we were taught. If my head wasn’t pointed to the ground focused on my feet, more people would have seen a small smile forming.
Ballroom dancing wasn’t in my plans for college, but after ten weeks in the class I wondered what other dance classes I could plan on taking or if I could audition for “So You Think You Can Dance.” You can expect the unexpected, but you can’t expect the unexpected to always be bad. It could very well keep you from dancing the night away.