Rush, Rush

As KUOO dug into its archives to bring us Paula Abdul’s 1998 release of “Rush, Rush” last week, the radio disk jockey sent me on a bit of an archival search of my own.

You know how every once in a while, a scent, sight or song brings you back to a memory you had long forgotten? The scent of cotton candy brings me back to my first childhood trip to Arnolds Park. When I see calla lilies, my mind turns immediately to an old friend. The songs of the 1980s and 1990s often bring back memories of my youth, and last week one particular song jogged an old long-forgotten memory.

As “Rush, Rush” played on my car radio last Wednesday, I was taken back to my very first junior high dance. Not only was it my first dance, but “Rush, Rush” was played during my first ever dance with a member of the opposite sex.

I felt bad for the poor guy. He had felt the sting of rejection from three girls sitting next to me. Sure, he was a bit nerdy, but who isn’t a nerd in seventh grade?

I took the chance, held his hand and let him lead me to the dance floor (which was of course, a very well-lit gym floor with about two chaperones per junior high dancer.

You could have fit three people in between two nervous kids swaying on the dance floor. As Abdul’s “Rush, Rush” played on for its entire four minutes and 56 seconds, I kept thinking I wished the song would “rush rush” so I could get my monumental first dance experience done.

To this day, the song brings me a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort. But I find myself smiling as I remember my own days of deep insecurity, ugly gym shoes and peer pressures.

It was just a dance. I forgot his name when I left the gym. We did not exchange phone numbers. It seemed as though there was nothing special beyond it being my first dance.

As I look back on it though, I realized it was a bit special in its own little way. It was two geeky junior high kids learning how to sway without stepping on one another’s toes. It was learning to humble myself in order to experience something new. And it was the first time I realized that I could be secure enough to say yes to something life changing when others were held back by their peers.

“Dancing is wonderful training for girls, it’s the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it.” ~Christopher Morley, Kitty Foyle