Tag Archives: dancing with friends

Dodger Stadium

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On Monday night, I had way too much energy and thought it would be great to go dancing, but couldn’t think of where to go on a Monday night so I went for a walk instead. Well, a walk interspersed with running so I was a hot and sweaty mess by the time I was finished.

Just as I was getting home, my phone rang, “Oye, Cuquita [koo-kee-tah: little paper doll]!! Que bola?!? What are you doing tonight, baby? I just got into town! Let’s go to Floridita!

Damn it. Of course. I had forgotten the best place to go on a Monday night for dancing.
Plus, I hadn’t seen this buddy of mine since he had suggested I get up on stage and represent my Cuban roots so it was a double-bummer.

Being too ridiculously tired to dance (and mildly irritated at being called a pet name), I countered with a suggestion for going dancing on Tuesday. “Ok, Kikita linda, don’t worry. I know the best place! We can go tomorrow no problem!

After church group on Tuesday, I called him and canceled.
5 minutes later, I called back and told him I’d changed my mind.
In those 5 minutes, his ride had left, so if I still wanted to go, I had to pick him up, “But don’t worry, mi Cuquita, I am only 5 minutes away from esteven’s.

Ok, so I got the address, put it into my phone’s GPS and I was off.
Since this was just going dancing with a buddy and Not A Date, I texted another buddy and let him know I’d be there, “Ok, sexy, but I’m leaving at 11 so hurry!” (Apparently, my buddies had not received the message that if you are just an un-interested buddy, you should not be using terms of endearment.)

A buddy from church started sending me lines from a TV Show we both love which was messing with my GPS.
My dad was emailing me about some other thing which was also messing with my GPS.
My buddy who was already dancing was chatty which was ALSO messing with my GPS.

I missed my exit.
I was now lost in some part of Los Angeles that a beautiful blonde should probably not be lost.
I pulled over to get my GPS working.
I got back on the freeway.
People kept texting me.
My GPS crapped out again.
I looked up and I was at the gates of Dodger Stadium.
I’ve never been to Dodger Stadium.

I finally found my Visiting Buddy’s house, and we were off!

Visiting Buddy: I saw your boyfriend the other day! Well, your ex!
Me: Ummm… which one?
Me (to myself): Which of my exs would he even know?
Visiting Buddy: Do you remember Fulano’s dad?
Me: What the … why are you calling him my boyfriend?
Visiting Buddy: Didn’t he take you outside once and …
Me: OH. MAH. GOODNESS. YES!! He pulled out ‘CUBA’ and kept telling me to touch it. Damn, for an old man… Seriously, it was bigger than my forearm!
Visiting Buddy: HAHAHAHAHA!! Ay! Honey, that was the turn back there…

We missed three turns while talking about … “CUBA.”

Finally, we made it to esteven’s and my Dance Buddy bogarted me for two songs. He would have gone for three, but I felt bad double-dancing when I hadn’t seen my Visiting Buddy in so long. Dance Buddy left and I turned my attention back to my Visiting Buddy.
Since the place was pretty empty, people couldn’t help but stare at two Cubans doing their thing.
And I couldn’t believe how much I’d never known about him… like that he’d been a political prisoner, or part of the Cuban military, or that he was a Bounty Hunter in Vegas. UN.REAL.

On the ride back to his house (well, his brother’s house), I mentioned how much I LOVE cigars. His brother just happened to have some and would love to give me one, but “Come here, Cuquita, I want to show you something first.

The something required a hike.
Did I mention I was wearing 5″ platforms?
It turns out I am quite stubborn.
Bounty Hunter: I’ll carry you. Trust me, I can do it.
Me: Hell no. I want to do it myself.
And I did.
When we got to the top of the hill it was a breath-taking view of L.A., particularly … Dodger Stadium.

Bounty Hunter: Look, Kikita! Whenever my brother or I miss Cuba, we come up here and it reminds of being home.
Me: It really is beautiful. And I was just thinking to myself this morning… you know what I want to do tonight? See Dodger Stadium.
Bounty Hunter: Ay, Cuquita! You are too funny! Since we’re Cuban, I knew you would love to see a baseball stadium, but look at the moon! I bet no one has ever shown you the moon before either… isn’t it romaaantic?
Me: You’re right. I have NEVER seen the moon before. It’s SOOOO romantic.
Me (too myself): Cubans. Baseball. The man had a point… Uh oh. This buddy is about to make his move out of the “buddy” zone… shit, shit, SHIT!

Bounty Hunter the Visiting Buddy made his move and now his intentions were clear. Apparently, I had been On a Date and completely missed it.
After a brief interlude (VERY brief because there was no way I was going to let this Bounty Hunter get anywhere at the top of a hill in the middle of the night), I mentioned that it was a school night and I needed to go. Going down a hill in 5″ platforms is even MORE difficult than going up, so I finally gave in and let him carry me down.

When we got to the house, his brother was waiting for us.
Bounty Hunter: Hermano! This is the lovely Kikita, she’s Cuban like us and loves cigars. Can you hook her up?

And he did.

I stayed for another 20 minutes out of sheer politeness. One doesn’t accept such a fine gift without spending time visiting for a while, but once hands started to get a little more handsy, it was my cue.

Bounty Hunter: Can I see you tomorrow? Or when are you coming to Vegas? I can get you a free room, just let me know. Ay, Kikita! Do you have any idea how amazing you are?
Me: Thank you for everything. Especially the cigar… AND for showing me Dodger Stadium.
Me (to myself): Yeah… just a little. 😉

A few days later I would find out I had been given the Best. Cigar. Ever.
Dodger Stadium and a delicious cigar, what more could a girl ask for?

¿Y Ahora Qué?

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I was dying to go dancing.
I knew where I wanted to go, but it was just far enough that just going and hoping to find people to dance with was not necessarily something I wanted to risk.
On the other hand, I knew there would be a live band and I knew some “friends” (SEE: Exs) would be playing so it’s not exactly like I would be ALONE alone.

I asked a friend, but he couldn’t come.
I asked a buddy I knew was there all the time, but he wasn’t going.

So I went alone.

When I walked in, my attention was immediately captured by a dancer I’d never seen before. And I decided I would dance with him before the night was over.

I found my “friends” and sat down with them. Of course, they were sitting with the Cuban from a few weeks ago who had proposed to me and his girlfriend. She was so quiet and barely looked me in the eye. I wondered if she hated me under pure suspicion of what had transpired a few weeks ago. Shrugging it off, I sat and chatted happily and then my “friends” got up to play, so I got up to dance.

During the next break, I made my way back to the table and … what was this? The dancer I had lost track of was sitting there! PERFECT!

After being introduced, I found out that not only was The Dancer a Cuban, he was the BEST FRIEND of the Cuban with the girlfriend. Awesome.

My “friends” got up to play again, the Cuban got up to dance with his girlfriend and I was left alone with The Dancer.
That was when The Challenge came up:
The Dancer: You drove 45 minutes for this?!?
Me: Sure, why not?
The Dancer: I would never drive 45 minutes for anything. Especially not this.
Me (to myself): Uh huh, we’ll see about that.
Me (to him): Ok, well, let’s dance.
The Dancer: You’re boyfriend won’t get jealous?
Me: First of all, he’s not my boyfriend. Second, even if he was, no… he likes to share.

Half a dance later…
The Dancer: Ok, maybe I would drive 45 minutes for THIS…
Me (to myself): I win.
Me (to him): Good to know, but don’t get any ideas of driving anytime soon…
The Dancer: How soon is soon? What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: I’m busy. And soon is, at least, March.

The night ended with a text informing me that I had no idea what I was missing, but hopefully I’d be willing to find out soon. If I had a nickel …

My plans for Friday night fell through, right along with my Saturday night plans.
I had been dying to go dancing at a Cuban place in Hollywood and had convinced a buddy of mine to be willing to make the drive with me on Saturday night, but he ended up having to work.

I sent The Dancer a message on Friday night saying that I might be available, but would let him know in an hour.
I admit, my intentions had been less than honorable. I really just wanted to win again. I had no intention of going anywhere Friday night.

He won.
He said he was going to a Cuban place in Hollywood and would love for me to meet him there.
Damn it. I hadn’t planned for that one. It was the one thing I couldn’t say no to.

It was another magic evening.
The girlfriend and her Cuban boyfriend were there and she was suddenly my best friend.
I was being introduced to all kinds of people and everyone found me to be the amazing person I am.

The Dancer and I danced and talked and it was great.
And the more we talked, the more amazing it was.
He even said that wonderfully cliché line of: Where have you been hiding all this time?

So I was winning, until he answered his own question and things took a turn for the worse: That’s right, you’ve been behind a cloud of darkness.
Me: Excuse me?
The Dancer: Don’t try to tell me there was nothing going on between you and that negro last night. [Negro as in the Spanish word for “black.”]
Me: Well, not last night, but once upon a time, sure. That was years ago, though.
The Dancer: How could you do that? You are so much better than that. Don’t tell me you’re actually attracted to negros?
Me: Seriously?
The Dancer: I’m sorry, but I don’t eat where a negro has eaten. I’m giving you this one chance because there’s just something about you, but consider yourself SUPER lucky!

I was instructed to text when I got home safely and that he would call me the next day, which surprised me since he didn’t seem to be able to get past my past.

And I guess he didn’t have the guts to tell me that to my face, because he never did call…

I can’t help but go back and forth between feeling irritated at such stupidity and totally ashamed of my choices from 5 years ago.

¿Y ahora qué?
So, now what?

He Dropped Me

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It was a long day.

I had an early meeting. I had projects to finish. I had projects to start. I had Cuban coffee to drink.

Somehow my boss convinced the VP to go to lunch at my new favorite Cuban place (Bella Cuba) and so what is usually lunch at my desk became two hours of not being at work with the added bonus of the VP mentioning how much “Kiki LOOOOOVES chocolate” (and he wasn’t talking about my eating habits – though how he learned about that I’m not sure because all three people I’ve dated since being at the company have been … *ahem* vanilla).

As I was finally leaving the office, LATE, the wind howled and stole the last drops of café that were in my cup… and proceeded to spray them onto my favorite pair of white pants.

I hurried home to change into a pair of less favorite jeans so that I could hurry to the cd release party of an African girlfriend of mine.

I called an old BFF to make sure he was going. He was. We walked in together, but then an ex of his pulled him away just in time for me to see the ex-girlfriend of an ex of mine. She was absolutely thrilled to see me and demanded we take a picture together. Why not? Now there is a permanent record for me to review and wonder how the hell I ever ended up following an act like hers…

After the picture, I turn to greet a few other old friends and then see the pregnant wife of another ex. Of course, she has no idea of my ex status because when she and I met everyone thought I was with my BFF (when, in fact, it was his roommate I was with… ish). She is super sweet and absolutely adorable, but I get the sense that she’s not entirely thrilled to be pregnant and is worried that her mixed baby is going to come out less-than gorgeous. After hugging her and catching up a bit on her and then on everyone else who has had babies lately and everyone who was about to have babies, I found my old BFF again and we went looking for seats.

He had someone he wanted me to meet and started steering me in that direction. Of course, the friend he wanted me to meet was sitting right in front of the pregnant wife and her husband (my ex).

The break-up conversation that led to this ex becoming my ex was simple, to the point (something along the lines of “Kiki, you deserve better than what I have to offer you right now“), and we stayed friends. Since this was several years ago, certain things shouldn’t bother me, right? Of course, right!

My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: KIKITA!! It’s wonderful to see you! You’re beautiful! Do you know that? Really! You are so beautiful, and you have a beautiful heart and are just an amazing and beautiful person. Have I told you how beautiful you are?
Me: Not today…
My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: Come! Sit with us!
Me (to myself): You have GOT to be kidding me right now.

It was a spectacular concert. And the sound was done by the awesome Cuban guy from my church because the world is really that small and my night wasn’t weird enough.

Meanwhile… on my phone…

Dance Buddy: Hey there sexy lady! What are you up to?
Me: At a concert having a weird moment.
Me (to myself): I’m sorry, who gave you permission to call me “sexy lady”?
Dance Buddy: Oh, sorry to hear that baby! Just imagine I’m there dancing with you.
Me: Ha!
Me (to myself): Baby? Seriously? And this whole time I thought he was gay…

After the concert, but before leaving…

My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: Kikita, you know you need to have a mixed baby.
Me: Yeah, ok. I’ll get right on that.
My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: Why not [your old BFF]?
Me: That will never happen. Beyond not being attracted to him, when I turned 25 and freaked out about getting old, I asked him to be my back-up plan. If I turned 30 and didn’t have any prospects, I asked him to have a kid with me. Of course he agreed, but then we spent the next 6 months discussing baby names and were never able to agree on anything. So, even if I WANTED to have a kid with him, which I don’t, we could never name it.
My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: You are too much. Poor guy. He’s really awesome.

A little while later, some other individual came up to introduce himself to me. We ended up having quite a bit in common, including a penchant for learning new languages. My Ex With The Pregnant Wife  overheard us going from Arabic to English to Spanish and was kind of amazed.

My Ex With The Pregnant Wife (to the new guy): Kikita is an amazing woman. She’s really quite brilliant. Kikita! Have you ever tested for your IQ? She likes to pretend she’s not very smart because she’s blond, but really she is brilliant.

I guess the sales pitch worked because when some of the other girls asked if we could all go to a nearby dance place (which just happened to be my Sunday night hang-out), the new guy was happy to come along. And fearless about dancing even though he wasn’t very good.

My old BFF pulled me aside: Kiki! You have to dance! I’ve told everyone what a great dancer you are!

No pressure.

Luckily, one of my Sunday night buddies was there. He’s a bit odd, but fun to dance with so that’s all that really matters. We were dancing, but joking around a lot, too. Somewhere in the middle of the dance, he dipped me. No one ever dips me, which I understand, there’s a lot of me to dip.

Well, this kid dipped me, and then we kept dancing.
And then the song ended.
And he dipped me again.
And I am not sure exactly what happened…

He might have tripped me.
Or I might have lost my balance.
Or he wasn’t supporting me…

Whatever the reason, I found myself on the ground… sort of.

I really don’t even know how it happened. I was on the ground, so I knew I had fallen (or had been dropped).

But the kid hadn’t fallen on top of me.

And then he did.

And I didn’t think it was possible, but I fell MORE.

And I think we sort of rolled…

And I couldn’t stop laughing.

He dropped me.
He dipped me.
And he dropped me.

I’d never been dropped before…. Well, not LITERALLY dropped.

Obviously, all the exs of the evening had dropped me at some point…. figuratively speaking.

The lesson: You are going to get dropped and even if it doesn’t hurt too much at the time, you’ll still find bruises.

 

The Wrong Choice

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Last night was Saturday night.

I needed a change.

I was SO SICK of dancing at the same place with the same people.

I made a last minute decision to drive to LA for the Eddie Santiago concert at the Conga Room.

After deciding what I wanted to do, I called a dance buddy and asked if he wanted to go, too. Of course he did. So I met him there.

I was not there 10 minutes and I was ready to go. I didn’t like the crowd and could tell I wouldn’t be dancing much.

Had I been by myself I would have left and gone around the corner to where I knew my friends were playing that night. For the first time in a long time, though, I wasn’t out by myself. I had my dance buddy. And I couldn’t ask him to give up the price of admission just because I was bored and unhappy.

The salt came pouring into my wound when a girlfriend I hadn’t been out dancing with in forever told me she was at my same place with my same people AND was running into old friends of ours. The place I was SO SICK of was now exactly where I wanted to be.

How can you learn from that mistake? Because I didn’t just make the wrong choice. I made the wrong choice twice over. There were TWO other places I could have had more fun at.

I learned I prefer going places alone because I like having the freedom to leave and relocate whenever I want. It is the Kiki way.

I also learned that sometimes you just have to be in the moment, embrace it, and not go to some random concert with a buddy just because you want a change of scenery.

Bright Yellow.

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I am so happy to have friends like him.

I was already looking forward to a great Saturday night, alone.
I knew exactly what I was getting into and I was happy about it.

And then he walked in, wearing yellow of all colors.
Bright yellow.

Yellow is almost as cool as orange. I mean, it’s in the “colors that make Kikita happy” group after orange and red.

He’s my friend, so I think nothing of dancing with him. It’s safe and comfortable. It’s familiar and fun.
And, suddenly, it’s hot… and getting hotter.
And we’re going to bachata now, too?

The last song I remember dancing with him before he disappeared for the night (which, he’ll later admit, was because he had to go home and take a cold shower) will forever remind me of him and his bright yellow shirt.

The next night, I find out that a close friend of mine has a serious crush on him.
And that song is one of her all-time favorites.

What are the odds?

I guess I should consider myself lucky to have had that dance with him… But, really, I consider him the lucky one because he got to do a cha cha with ME.

La Vida es una Rueda

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If Kikitiando had a theme song it would be the Willy Chirino song, “Lo Que ‘sta Pa’ Ti

The first line is:  “La Vida es una ruleta”!

Pero, the way I did New Year’s Eve, it was much more a Rueda.

New Year’s Eve has always been very special to me. My abuelos were married NYE so I have many happy childhood memories of the big anniversary parties we would throw for them. When I eventually get married, I plan on doing so on NYE and so I’ve always been very protective of my plans and how I bring in the new year.

I have never kissed anyone at midnight. I’ve had some after midnight kisses, but not any midnight kisses and I have worked hard to keep it that way.

I am all for traditions, especially Cuban New Year’s Eve Traditions, and have found it rather difficult to kikitiar at  midnight if I’m out and about. Plus, the idea of being out while so many drunk people are out just doesn’t sound like fun to me. I never liked the 200 Cigarettes type of pressure that seems to follow New Year’s Eve. So I like to stay home, alone. I make sure the house is clean. I get all dressed up, and I enjoy hours of tv. I like to pick a tv show and just watch as many episodes as I can… it’s gloriously decadent. In the minutes leading up to midnight, I’ll pour myself a glass of champagne and drop a sugar cube in it (a trick I learned on Moonstruck and it makes me smile). I’ll have a bowl of 12 grapes sitting on the table by the door, right next to the suitcase and the bucket of water and the money.

At midnight, the minute of madness ensues. While wearing my yellow underwear, I’ll toast the New Year saying, “El ano que viene, en Cuba” while dumping the bucket of water out the door, eating the grapes, walking outside with the suitcase and putting the money into the mailbox … and laughing hysterically.

It’s special to me and I just love it. These past couple of years, though, my antics have been somewhat thwarted and I’ve had to modify my traditions… seemingly, for the better because now I consider myself kikitiando through the new year. It started last year, I found myself with a driving need to go out dancing. Pero HOW could I GO OUT if I was going to accomplish all my Cuban New Year’s Eve silliness? Simple…

I now celebrate New Year’s Eve on Cuban Time.

So last year, when 9 PM rolled around, I was dressed up, wearing my yellow underwear for good luck, eating 12 grapes for prosperity, toasting* and saying “Next year, in Cuba,” dumping a bucket of water outside and then running (in my high heels) with my suitcase to the mailbox to put in my money.

An hour later, I was out dancing, so when midnight California time came around, I was dancing. It was THE. BEST. NEW YEAR’S EVE. EVER!

This year… was different.

My brother’s birthday happens to fall on December 30th which means that he tends to get lost in the Christmas shuffle, unless he does what he did this year… have a party on New Year’s Eve. Not just any party, a murder mystery dinner party. That’s great… for him and his friends. His friends are not my friends, though. And how was I going to succeed at being alone with a house-full of partiers? As I was resigning myself to my fate and the bad luck I’d have in 2011 for skipping out on my NYE Kikitiando, I received an invitation to a Salsa Party.

Some new friends who love salsa dancing as much as I do were having a house party. Problem solved, sort of… The party started at 3 in the afternoon.

I rose to the occasion. Forget the grapes! Forget toasting! It isn’t truly kikitiando if it can’t evolve, right? Of course right!

Instead of wearing yellow underwear I WENT CRAZY! I wore HOT PINK & ORANGE with WHITE POLKA DOTS!

I still dressed up and I decided when I arrived at the party at 6 PM that I would still celebrate “on Cuban time.” I know that it was the right choice and that God loves me because at 9 PM I was smiling and dancing in a Rueda. When the dance was over, I grabbed my mojito, walked outside and whispered to the freezing night air “El ano que viene, en Cuba.”

It doesn’t get more Cuban than that!**

*I toasted with Martinelli’s because I knew I would be driving shortly thereafter.

**I may or may not have knocked over a bucket of melted ice that was already outside and taken 12 bites of the pastelito I’d grabbed from the dessert spread in the kitchen… por si acaso… 😉