crippleness in Buenos Aires

Since this blog started out as away to record my varying degrees of crippleness and the associated frustrations, I’d best attempt a reflection on being (semi) crippled in BA.

In fact most of my crippledness centred on the way I often viewed my travelling companions. Like thoroughbreds pawing at the gates and eager to explore they strode ahead of me, kindly waiting for me to catch up, however. (Poetic license is applied here. Mostly they walked a few paces ahead and also beside). One day I did venture out with my stick. It’s useful that in BA the blocks are regularly spaced, so that if you know you are walking 10 blocks that’s a kilometre. The most notable things about being in BA with a stick is that (unlike Milan, for example) the people offer respect to you and your stick. So it was easy being a cripple.

Since I was there to dance (yep this cripple can dance after a fashion) there were alas some problems. I am not as fleet of foot or elegant as my two companions and did have to resort to saying to someone that the foot “no funciona”. As the cabaceo is a direct negotiation to dance, it’s also acceptable to admit defeat gracefully. On one occasion a fellow and I agreed that it wasn’t going to work out and he politely led me back to my seat with a “Vamos a descansar.” On another occasion I politely thanked my dance companion after the first dance of the four-dance tanda. I add hastily that both these fellows were considerably shorter than me.

The hip did become troublesome and it was deeply inelegant to have to stand for a moment or two to unravel it, but once I got going I was fine. The local acupuncturist also took me in hand and after a week the hip was moving along freely.

I was also lucky to meet Luis Canaan, a gifted tango teacher who eased me through some of the difficulties and with whom I had my final dance in BA. He murmured, “muy bien’ as he returned me to my seat. He didn’t need to and he is a darling.

It was a joy to dance with the tall men, who once they realised I was not proficient, clasped me tightly and took charge. There’s a surety and strength of character and dance ability that makes you feel certain, happy and relaxed. That was the gift of BA for this (semi) cripple.

The others? Too many, but contemplating and indeed dancing in shoes like this made me feel as if an emotional and physical leap had been made.


2 thoughts on “crippleness in Buenos Aires

  1. Speaking as the slightly less longer-legged of the two thoughtless thoroughbreds, here’s to you and your wonderfully good-humoured courage and perseverence, Cheryl. And your great company.


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