Tonight I write this blog entry (which I hope will be brief since I need sleep soon) from the Downtown Vancouver (Washington) Hilton, after having enjoyed a long day at my first Northwest Weekend, where I had the unusual spot of being a part of the host congregation. That said, despite the fact that my feet have been hurting all day, I still managed to have an enjoyable and busy and productive day, even by my somewhat exacting standards. As I have never been to this venue or this event before, or the venue where sporting events are tomorrow (where I volunteered to ref some volleyball games), this is all quite new to me far more than it is to most of the locals who seem to come here year after year.
Arriving early meant that I was able to loan my music to the choir director so that she could make copies of the music for today’s performance of the “youth” choir (I suppose it is flattering to still be considered young enough to be a youth in some ways), and practice went well. I happened to meet quite a few new people over the course of the day even with spending a lot of time sitting trying to keep my foot from revolting too heavily and spending other time standing in practice and walking around and other tasks that were fairly painful I must admit, but worthwhile nonetheless. I met a fellow from Montana, for example, who is studying welding and wants to make metal art, which I thought was quite creative and intriguing, and I saw plenty of acquaintances that I had made at the Feast in Redmond-Bend this year, which was also nice.
Church services today featured a split sermon format, with the youth choir performance (which went well) in the middle. The first message was about lying, and the second one was quite a humorous message (given the subject matter) about the way in which the behavior of people filters down through generations. It was not quite as touching as the same sort of sermon that had been given at the Feast of Tabernacles at Redmond, but it was still an effective sermon nonetheless. At the very least, I had no cause for complaint and some cause for thought and musing and anything that is food for thought is worthwhile on at least some level to me. After services I had a lovely and informal dinner here at the hotel room with some people who were strangers to me but who were quite friendly and chatty.
After that I spent almost four hours at a dance, which was decidedly painful given the swollen and painful state of my poor feet, but time spent dancing and chatting with lovely and friendly young ladies occasionally does require a bit of suffering, and so that is what it is. Due to some incidents in the past involving adults creeping on young girls, there is now a fairly strict separation between the teens and adults (thanks creepers!), which means that everyone from 20 to 80 is in the same dance, which doesn’t seem quite right. My expectations for a dance, mind you, especially a church dance, are fairly modest. Those modest expectations were certainly met tonight–enough music that I can dance to (which is usually slow to mid-tempo, though I did dance a fast tempo song, which is quite rare for me), and enough young ladies to dance with. I heard from others that the teen dance, which had a lot better music, apparently, was filled with teenage boys who did not seem to know how to ask girls to dance, so there were lots of ladies choice dances.
I’m not the world’s most charming man, I must admit, but as a young man who enjoys dancing, and who finds it enjoyable to spend three to four minutes chatting or singing along to music with someone (mostly an acquaintance at a dance like this), I find it difficult to understand why a young man would go to a dance and not ask a young lady to dance. Young women want to dance–in fact, they want to dance enough that many of them are willing to dance with me. Certainly they will dance with most any guy who is gracious, polite, possessed of some slight dancing ability, and able to carry on charming conversation for a few minutes. It’s not that difficult–if I can do it, anyone can. You just have to ask–and the chances of rejection are really low given the circumstances. I can’t see why any lovely young lady (and there were plenty at both dances) would ever have to ask a guy to dance in order to dance. Someone needs to take these young men aside and instruct them on how to be young men, how to be bold enough to ask a girl to dance. It should not be that hard or that nerve-wracking, especially given the modest expectations a young lady often has for her dance partner and her high interest in dancing. I’ll have to puzzle over that one for a while, but for now I need to sleep, as it’s only 8 hours until I have to head over to the athletic events in the morning. As is so often the case in my life, there is no rest for the wicked.