The Urban Dance

The streets are flooded in cruise ship tourists, vendors and locals. I can hear different languages being spoken, street vendors trying to entice tourists to buy giant sunglasses, a man playing an accordion, a man dressed as a statue playing a harp. Laughter. Kids crying. Horse hooves beating against pavement. I feel like I am the only person who doesn’t have a distinct sound and I feel as if I am going against the entire crowd.

It seems like when you are a place as touristy as Palma de Mallorca you can never get a spot on the sidewalk. Everybody walks slowly, window shops and stops for photos. There is such a mix of people all from different places that the ‘keep to the right’ walking etiquette holds no meaning anymore. Depending on where they are from, everybody has a different natural side to the pavement. This makes it extremely difficult for me to get through, especially running. I used to find this frustrating, but now, I have come to love it.  The more challenging the better. Maybe I am the asshole, the running asshole that plows through groups of friendly faces and mellow onlookers. Am I the asshole that bashes your shoulder on my way past; the asshole that runs through the outdoor seating at your restaurant? I do try very hard not to be that asshole. I will do everything I can to swerve and weave through the masses. I will jump on benches, I will hurdle fences and signs. My goal is to do this in the most graceful possible way but to never slow my pace.

Urban running has become a full sport now. There’s groups who meet and use the city as their playground. These adventure enthusiasts  bound off high concrete blocks, rails and drops. They use every element of the urban landscape as their jungle jim, jumping and leaping into into shoulder rolls. It involves acts which are considered dangerous by most sane people and illegal by many authorities.  In honesty, sometimes when I’m running there is a huge urge that overcomes me. This urge asks me to do flips and take risks that I would never normally consider. I have to physically restrain myself from listening to this voice. Ultimately, I haven’t got the guts to do what they do and I have so much respect for those who say fuck it and just let themselves fly. You don’t know unless you try.

Urban dancing is the similar, more PG rated form of the prior. Based on the same principle of using your obstacles as part of your course, urban dancing should look graceful and most importantly not impede on anyone’s space. I like to think that sometimes people didn’t even see me go by. That I am in some kind of invisible cape that shields me from onlookers. There are times when you end up looking completely ridiculous and albeit completely the opposite of graceful.. I recall the other day, I was running through a tight, busy corridor. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be in the centre or to a particular side of the street. I choose right side. As soon as I did this a man stepped out of his shop, well I should say his dog stepped out first,. Last minute I tried for a semi-elegant looking hurdle. Fail. I missed the dog but not the step jutting out just past him. Face plant. To make things even more embarrassing, the dog came over and starting growling and barking at me while I lay there in my shame. I guess we can’t always be on form.  Getting through these busy streets and crowds is always an exciting feeling and is huge part of running for me. When you finally emerge from the crowd and look back at the chaos you just braved, you can’t help but feel satisfied. And if you made a complete foot of yourself at least it’s all behind you.

~What if your fears and dreams existed in the same place? What if to get to heaven you had to brave hell? What if everything you wanted cost you everything you had ever achieved?

Would you still go there?

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