Everyone knows that foot tapping is contagious. It’s obvious, right? We’ve seen so many popular culture depictions that follow this theme: There’s a lone guy. He’s sitting at a table. In a, er, cafeteria. There’s a spoon, there’s a tumbler and there’s a knack for a beat, all with our lone guy. Before you know it, there’s a full-scale impromptu cafeteria orchestra, with tabletops, people’s backs and grinding knives passing for instruments.
(No, you actually haven’t seen anything like that? There, that’s remedied, and with a highly er… topical example to boot. Forgive me.) OK, I have never seen it happen, but neither have I seen Gandhi, and I believe what I see on TV more than I believe what I see in real life. Real life is very tricksy you see, I saw my name in a cloud once. What sort of self-respecting reality would have that?
Anyway, my point is that when I saw this person on my company bus tapping her fingers discreetly to some unknown rhythm, noiselessly and safely muffled by the backpack nestling in her lap, obviously in response to my not so discreet head-nodding (a more socially acceptable form of the headbang) to some Trivium riff, I was not surprised. No, sir, not in the least bit was I surprised. Music makes the world go round, right? Music is the only language everyone speaks, and all that, I told myself.
But on a different day, and with a different person, something happened that was surprising - in a mind-boggling way, with emphasis on the ‘mind’ and ‘boggle’ bits. I had seen this person enjoying his music quietly, with only the hint of a finger-drum giving anything away. Meanwhile, a brilliant riff and/or a spectacular solo forcefully wedged a happy knife in my skull, and I was swept away into a mini bus-seat rendition of a blast beat using my hands and legs. My twitching hair swayed in sync with the solo of course. In time, I noticed that this guy was sneaking surreptitious glances at me, and not in the: ‘look at that guy, he’s acting so ridiculous’ way.
It was more of a professional envy. I could make it out from that glint in his eye. (Middle aged gentlemen rocking back and forth to some 60s dirge in obvious orgasmic delight was a clue too, but you know, it was that glint that gave it away.) Naturally, I didn’t take to the challenge kindly. How could that presumptuous fool take on heavy metal, and its unrivalled capacity for energization? I had to enlighten him – it would be a blight on my conscience otherwise – I simply had to correct the error of his ways. So, I began to toss my head from side to side even more vehemently, whilst my feet beat out a furious staccato on the floor. I only stopped, chest heaving, heart aflutter, when I found myself nearly blinded by one of the many knobs and edges that jutted in from the window. To my satisfaction though, a quick glance confirmed that the shine in the pretender’s eye was all but gone now, glazed over in dull defeat. Victory! A truly triumphant homecoming it was, when I got off five minutes later.
I’ll let you use your underworked imaginations to sift out the truths in that story, but writing about it brought to mind another, even more mindboggling incident that occurred sometime back, when my workplace was changed to Bagmane Tech Park.