Shinn column: Dancing out of 2008

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

What I learned in 2008, set to music:
– “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” When the person you want to marry decides to marry someone else, it’s time to MOVE ON.
(If this sounds familiar, you’re right. This was the guy who last year was to be in an “exclusive relationship.” Just not with me. Sigh.)
Anyway, if you happen to find out something like this, say, in the middle of the Lexington Barbecue Festival press conference, it’s best to pull over on the interstate if you are sobbing afterward.
I managed to get ahold of my four best girlfriends on the way home, considering they work four different jobs in two states. Plus I talked to my daddy. Who really didn’t want to talk about it, but did anyway.
What I learned: There is at least one person out there who doesn’t love me. But there are five people who do.
– “Fun Fun Fun.” (As in, “She’ll have fun, fun, fun ’til her Daddy takes her T-bird away.) I got not one but two traffic tickets this year. The first I received for turning left in front of a State Trooper. I thought I had plenty of room. He did not. I did not argue.
The second one, I got coming out 801 from Mocksville after I hit the bottom of a long, steep hill. There he was, waiting for me at the top.
He couldn’t have been more courteous. Except for that ticket.
What I learned: Another song could apply here. “All we need is just a little patience…”
(Oh Lord. Didn’t realize I just quoted Axl Rose of Guns ‘N’ Roses.)
– “Defying Gravity.” I don’t care if we are in a recession. I don’t care if you have to skip paying your heat bill ó get a Snuggie!
Just do whatever it takes to go see “Wicked.” My friend Karen and I saw it at Ovens in April. I’ve seen “Les Mis” multiple times over the years, and it’s still my favorite. Barely.
The lines between good and evil are never really clear. This show about the “true story” of the Wicked Witch of the West ó her name is Elphaba, by the way ó shows that there’s a bit of good and evil in everyone.
Plus the songs are fantastic!
I have had the Wicked CD in my Walkman since April and I love it every single time I play it.
Plus the “Defying Gravity” song is exactly 6 minutes long, the time it takes me to run a half-mile on the treadmill. Pretty appropriate, no?
What I learned: A world without art would be a very bleak place indeed.
– “Dance to the Music.” Speaking of which, I am no longer the last person at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA with a CD Walkman.
I purchased a hot pink iPod Nano right after Christmas.
A few minutes later, I texted my Invisible Boyfriend to tell him about my purchase.
He immediately called and said, “You bought a Nano? I was going to buy you one this week.”
What I learned: The only thing better than a hot pink Nano is a FREE hot pink Nano.
– “Over the Rainbow.” This fall, I interviewed with Rotary International to go on a professional exchange trip to Egypt. It really was the chance of a lifetime. At the encouragement of my buddy Jim Morton, I filled out the application.
Then the economy tanked. Then terrorists struck in India. And now there’s unrest in Israel.
The best trip I ever took was the month I spent in London. But that was in college, and I was 20 years younger. More importantly, my parents were 20 years younger. My mother cried with relief when I told her I wasn’t going, and I knew then I’d made the right decision.
What I learned: When I had a long conversation with my friend Ken about all this, he asked, “And what did you learn?”
I thought for a minute and replied, “Don’t go looking for happiness any farther than your own backyard.”
Hope all your dreams come true in 2009.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or