/ HierCon (Hierarchy vs. Conviviality Stories) / Neighbors /
2015 02 21 This day’s editing will include the initiation of my renaming real names with fictional symbol substitutes. My purpose is not to protect the guilty but to hope to sooth Jan’s worries that I’ll be murdered in the alley, if not right out in public. Unimportant names I leave: meaning, people not guilty of public endangerment.
pk reports on the Highlands Country dance organization here called “Senior Dance”.
I was an attendee, then the line dance teacher, then a devoted volunteer, then a board member, then the ballroom dance director: director of all the dancing.
That was from 2008 to 2010: when I walked out: out and away. I’ll tell you why.
I launched this post as a scrapbook: a canvas for both scattergun and aimed rifle. Still writing, this 2015 02 19 I export parts, arrange a logic, build a menu. (I’ve duplicated this morning’s father file as a back-up.) This one file will be replaced by a dozen or so and a coordinating menu.
The title is important. I refer to the “schizophrenic” nature of Senior Dance’s executives, the schiz nature of the “Bo McBee” marriage, the schiz nature of the relation between pk and Senior Dance .. the schiz split between Senior Dance’s role as a public service, in 2008 I believe it was a not-for-profit service; Now I suspect it’s privately owned: Bo, the owner, Ann his indentured journeyman, the pubic Bo’s serfs. No one is forced to go, that’s true.
My meaning is metaphoric, not clinical.
I build a menu as I export: renaming will necessitate test all this
pk/Senior Dance, Quick
Senior Dance History
Sandbag the Teacher
Senior Dance Board
pk ‘Fore & Aft’
Ann, Beautiful Boss
Senior Dance Members
pk the Senior Dancer
I’m going to be telling a load more stories about dancing in Highlands County, seniors socializing. Senior Dance will be at the center. Ann was CEO in 2008, her husband Bo, president then, now the “owner”. I presume that denotes a change of legal, corporate status. In 2008 Bo was “president”: Bo was also absent for months on end.
These stories will present “Bo McBee” in a bad light. I insist that’s apporpriate. I want to deny in advance negative implications for Ann: or at least a lot of explanation is in order. I loved Ann from the beginning, I still love her: I just no longer want to be within 100 feet of anything run by either of them: so long as they’re married, so long as she’s under his heel.
76 years old, losing my sight, having already lost my hearing, never knowing when the gestapo will rearrest me — I’ve put back up the NYU correspondence that triggers my arrest in 2006. The lawyer warned me (the parole guy warned me) that if I showed those letters again I’d go straight back to jail. So: I’ve done it, the boot could kick me in the balls all over again. I’m spewing now, I’ll spew uncontrollably once kicked again.
But take what I tell about Ann in context. Hope I can finish and round off the story.
I’ll present a particular situation as the “center” of the story, but first I have to develop pk resuming dancing in relation to Senior Dance: that’s after a halfl-century layoff. My learning, and teaching, line dancing is central.
I began attending the Senior Dance in order to meet women, to get close to at least one. I had a huge mental block against dancing. As a youth I’d censored myself partly because my dancing bordered on obscenity, and I thought I was the little Christian. I also, till I took my first step, wasn’t sure I’d remember how: other’s ineptitude was reassuring in that quarter. My first visit, I became acquainted with three women: as said, 91, 92, 93: just talk, I didn’t ask any to dance. The next Wednesday I vowed I’d correct that. I needed to identify a competent dancer, explain to her that I’d had a long layoff, beg her indulgence: bear with me, and help me, remember, and rehearse, the basic step. Basic box step, basic waltz, and I’d be off from there. So I asked, at random: Who’s a good dancer among the women. I was told “Phyllis”. They pointed. “She loves to dance.” So I went and invited Phyllis. She loved to dance alright. Leading wasn’t a problem: Phyllis danced in her own world. She didn’t follow me, she didn’t follow the music. That day was her birthday: 87. Eighty years evaporated, she was once again standing on her father’s feet as he danced for both of them. Alzheimers was setting in fast but she loved to dance.
It didn’t take more than three seconds. I was doing my box step, I was feeling the rhythm, everything was fine. Phyllis was more than enthusiastic as I held her close. I gotta get laid, here’s the one, never mind her age. My friend Catherine was even older. And that’s when I realized another problem with this woman. I asked where she lived, she didn’t know. I asked for her phone number, she wasn’t sure: a lot of effort squeezed out a few uncertain numbers. Back home, later that afternoon, I tried a number combination as a candidate. After a couple of possibilities I reached her. She was very glad to hear from me. Very very glad. I need to see you, I said. I need to hug you, kiss you, kiss you all over. “Yes, yes”, she said. When can we get together? I asked. “Right now!” She was imploring. The trouble was she didn’t know her address, couldn’t tell me where she lived. A few tries gave me a few clues, I set off, by golly, I got there! A minute later we were in bed. That part was nice enough, her body was OK. But the Alzheimers became unbearable. Fortunately the hall was full of women similarly eager. (By that time I’d become very friendly with one of her daughters, and tolerably friendly with the daughter she was living with. The latter dressed her up, brought her over well prepared for sleepovers …)
But never mind all of that, I’m talking about dancing, in order to talk about something else: social failures, our non-community.
I danced that first time, my second week there, with Phyllis. Fox trot, then linday, then a waltz. I remembered, it’s One, two-three. In a second I had my Swoop two-three. Best dancer again, in an instant. Phyllis and I are back at her table. A gal approaches at the next waltz. Dot asks Phyllis, “May I dance this waltz with him?” These seven years later I still ask Dottie for a waltz those evenings at the American Legion when I see her. She wasn’t “ninety” then but I bet she’s ninety now.
So: very rapidly, at Senior Dance, I’m the skilled, stylish dancer. For each dance type I’d remember one step, smooth it, then add another. People say I dance so fancy but it’s not true: one step, one, maybe two, variations. I ask a woman to dance, she says no, she’s not good enough, nonsense, I say: I talk her into it, and she’s fine. There, that wasn’t hard.
So one day Ann introduces Gil the landlord’s girlfriend, Jean. Jean announces that she’ll teach The Electric Slide, a linedance, if enough people are interested. She took the show of hands as a quorum. Good: the social began at 10 AM, she’d teach The Electric Slide the hour before: 9.
A colleague from the Macintosh Users Group I founded in the early 1990s, a retired school teacher, had told me she line-danced once a week at the mall (which was brand new at that time). I went by, took a look, but didn’t join them. So now it’s 2008 and I follow Jean as we grapevine right, grapevine left. Jean is teaching it, but she’s not very sure of herself. I follow her lead whatever.
Now, here’s non-convivial complication #1: Schiz detail #1. Jean is the landlord’s girl friend. Senior Dance rents the hall from the Sebring Hills Association, the landlord is the president of that association, there are some rough edges between the association and the center. In other words: there’s some friction between Ann, the Senior Dance CEO but mainly, the President (now the Owner)’s wife, and Jean the skittery landlord’s girl. But at the time, I knew none of that. Ann asks me if I’ll help Jean teach The Electric Slide: I seem to know it: overnight. Ann tells Jean she can draw on my help. Jean gives Ann, and me! a look so venemous, believers in VooDoo would have died on the spot.
The next Wednesday Jean is leading us, a half a dozen people have shown up, I’m the only male, but Jean is flustered, she fumbles. I continue the step. Jean squeezes her hands into fists. She shakes them in impotent fury. “I tell you what!” She glowers at me. “YOU teach it!” That last part was spit.
So I did. The others were confused. A couple drifted away. The next Wednesday only a few showed up. But then a few more joined us. Schiz. Some wanted to learn the dance. None wanted to be in the middle of some Senior Dance boil-up. I don’t doubt that a good portion of those interested, knowing, correctly, that I’d been in jail, guessing, further, incorrectly, that I was some kind of a monster, didn’t want to be anywhere near me. But: a small group did form. Sometimes it got quite a bit bigger, sometimes there were only two or three. But: Ann had been determined to give me a chance, Ann stuck by the chance. She was giving me a chance, she was giving them a chance. She took a couple of lumps for allying with me. (I take lumps for allying with the good, the natural.)
I didn’t, yet, but Ann did understand a good part of what was going on. Bo was off in Texas renovating a yacht he used to charter. The landlord and Bo were buddies. Bo picked on Ann. Ann was loyal to Bo: in some things. I’m getting drawn into a hornets nest: everyone sabotaging Ann, and Ann’s friends. Ann asks me if I’ll continue to teach The Electric Slide. Sure, be glad to. By that time I was taking additional line dance lessons with DeeDee: my first couple of weeks I could already dance, and teach, several of the common dances: The Electric Slide, The Boot Scootin’ Boogie, The Cowboy Charleston … Ann tells me that I’ll no longer have to pay the $5 entrance fee at the door: dancing, social, coffee, includes lunch: pretty good lunch actually, and lots of deserts.
$5 is a lot to me. I sacrificed making money to found FLEX: I didn’t get paid to invent the internet; it cost me, cost me everything. I learned to make money selling art, but I gave that up in 1982 to write my novels: again, no income, pure expense. Arresting me in 2006, judging me in 2007, the fed destroyed my business. SSE was giving me $400 a month or so, FL gave me foodstamps. $5 was a lot: I had to meet women, had to dance now that I was dancing, but I couldn’t afford anything. So Ann’s friendship was important.
We’ll never know how big the linedance group might have been with a different teacher; I was the teacher. And enough women loved to dance with me, ballroom and line dance, that I was buffeted about like a rag doll. Lois, 90-some-odd, would grab me, bang herself against me, dance us off: as though I had grabbed her!
Board of Directors
Ann ran the Board the way Stalin ran the Politburau. And Bo ran Ann. I went along with everything, anything, while Ann ran things solo, Bo having gone off to Texas to party for several months. It was only when Bo came back and with ham fists reasserted control, grinding Ann into the dust (and me, me in particular) along with her, that I rebelled. Here’s the first scandal I became aware of.
The Senior Dance, that is, Ann, did a series of things to raise money: estate sales, for example. It’s a “senior” center. Seniors attended. Old folks. I was aware of one old guy in particular. Ann would run his errands, Ann would stop by his big house and put out his garbage for him: and he kicked. Now Ann is running his estate sale, taking I don’t know what commission for the Senior Dance. Here’s the point: that’s how Senior Dance got its vehicle. (It was in that very estate sale, Connie a slave, that I’d gotten my toaster: and not cheap either!) So: Senior Dance inherited some old guy’s station wagon.
Bo took the Senior Dance station wagon and drove himself in it to Texas, stayed there for a half a year, me overhearing Ann muttering about divorce the whole time, vowing that she’d be better off on the street …
There are things I could tell here that I promised Ann I wouldn’t repeat: and I’m not, those vows are golden; but there’s plenty more that I did not vow to keep mum on. This is an example.
I tell the story based on bits and pieces that I fit together, like a police case. There’s no omniscient narrator, they’re possible scenarios. Probable, but not fully fact. Juries can vote things to become facts but juries aren’t God either.
Was Bo fleeing Ann? Running to his drinking buddies? running to the whores and booze they used to fill the yacht with for their clients, sharing the booze and whores with the clients? (A friend of Ann’s, in Bo’s house, Bo absent, once told me that Bo’s ambition, Bo’s only serious ambition, was to fuck every whore in Texas.
Jump to the point: Bo finally comes back from Texas, now Bo is at home, running the Senior Dance, making me dry dishes instead of teaching my class. Board meeting. Item of business: Bo, President, is offering to buy the Senior Dance station wagon for … say $2,400. Bo’s been using the Center’s wagon for half a year, the Center has had no use of its wagon for that time (the Center has been using Bo’s own car, the one Ann drives), now Bo is offering to buy it. Not, mind you, put it up for auction, and bid on it himself, like anyone except Stalin would do.
Ann is running the meeting, as always. Bo is there, just sitting. Order of business: shall Senior Dance sell Bo the wagon for his offered $2,400? “All in favor …”
Some old gal on the board I don’t know, don’t remember her name if I ever knew her name, is sputtering, indignant, trying to speak: No, that’s the Center’s car … Bo is tring to steal it …. Of course Bo had alrady stolen it: and there’s no telling how much besides.
In a Christian civilization, in any real civilization whether Christian or not, Bo would have been blocked in all those power moves, all those dirty lowballs. Someone would have understood Roberts Rules of Order, someone would have explained them to Ann and the board, and to Bo … Explain anything to Bo? Who? How? Ridiculous.
The meeting proceeded, the wagon was yielded to Bo’s offer, the board never heard this old woman member’s object, or question, or whatever she want to say. She was evaded.
I should add other examples of things the Center never heard, because the Center never heard anything except what the two principles, the owner and his slave/wife, wanted heard.
Here’s one: Bo was in charge of fund raising. Did Bo know that I had decades and decades of fund raising experience? Did Bo want any suggestions? even if only to laugh them lost? No.
I’ve tried to work with a number of Highlands County charities. The same fascist deafness applies in all.
Abuse Paul, don’t let him speak.
But you know, don’t blame Hitler, or Goebbels, or Himmler. Or Roosevelt. It’s people! Germans! Americans! all the same. We all back Herod and Pilat, let Jesus get crucified.
Politics is finding out who the majority is after it’s too late.
I was always the best dancer in school: it was only when Ann appointed me line dance teacher that I became a candidate for best dance teacher. I’ve long been a teacher. I was a teacher long before I went to grad school to train for becoming a professor. My initial college teaching rank was “instructor” but the students called me “Professor”. In my correspondences since those who address me as “Doctor Knatz” include Doctor Carl Sagan, and Rollo May. I didn’t correct them, there was nothing to correct. “Doctor” can be damagingly misleading as can any label: woman, Jew. Think on the Nazi’s Doctor Goebbels: he actually did have a PhD, an ass-wipe PHD, from Heidelberg.
I’m not happy that the Americans won the war, I’m bvery glad that Stalin wasn’t the only winner, but I remain damn glad that the Nazis with their Dr. Goebbels didn’t win. Germans with their absurd titles for Herr Doktor Professor Everybody.
The line dance hour gave me plenty of time to go through a half dozen or a dozen titles. We’d do the Electric Slide and the Boot Scootin’ Boogie, and the Cowboy Charleston, and the Cupid Shuffle … Good. I could have taught a ballroom dance hour. Every class could have shown or reviewed this basic foxtrot step or that basic foxtrot step, this basic pair of triplets for the waltz or that basic pair of triplets, this basic Latin pattern or that. But that’s not how I conceived it. I just wanted to demonstrate one basic dance step each Wednesday. And I wanted every competent dancer or dance couple to have a turn at demonstrating it. I didn’t not want to monopolize the polium, or the dance floor center of focus. Everyone’s dancing could have improved, everyone in the room could have acheived basic competence in the box step. I’ll show it this Wednesday, let Sam show it next Wednesday, and Lorraine show the waltz next month. For five minutes: then get back to general dancing and conversation, etc.
Note: this conception extends my life’s professional contribution, the Free Learning Exchange: don’t tolerate the assignment of experts; let real competence emerge democratically (and, if it doesn’t, then we’re not savable).
But how could I explain any of that if Bo could arbitrarily rearrange Ann’s promotions without discussion?
Bo never established with me or with Ann what the agreement was; he simple informed me that I was a “volunteer”, and then defined his terms: that means I don’t get paid, even if payment was the deal!
Of course I was a volunteer! and an employee, salaried. My salary was free admission.
So: I know two Anns: Ann the hard-working Senior Dance exec, doing her damndest to provide a good seniors luncheon dance, trying to be good, smart, competent; Ann the corrupt, do what’s expedient Bo-slave. With him as her husband, she’s got a huge house, big grounds, the utilities are paid. Personally, I think she’d be better off in a shack.
The solution would be for a civilization, if only we had one, to arrest the two of them for fraud, put Bo out of business, let Ann return to her blessed exec function: just ask her to be a little more aware.
Make sure you know my Bo-the-bull-in-the-China-shop story, head down, knocking little old ladies asunder, me-first Bo. It’s in a dance blog, I’ll duplicated it, or maybe move it, here.
The central story here is Bo sabotaging my ball room dance lesson by making me stay in the kitchen when the lesson was scheduled. Ann allowed it. Ann cooperated: with Bo.
Another worst story concerns Bo’s sabotage of the website I designed for Senior Dance. I’ll get to it next.
Laurence Sterne’s character writes his life, the writing takes longer than the living. 18th Century. Marvelously funny, I hope you know it.