Why did we drive over an hour, across state lines, to dance badly with a guy named Matt and a bunch of people we didn’t know?
Let me try to explain.
Five years ago, I sat in a restaurant overlooking Times Square when on one of the big outdoor screens I noticed a video of a guy doing a silly dance with people from all over the world. Our exchange student from Spain had arrived a few days before and we were there to show her the Big Apple. We were just beginning to bond with her as her American family, and the world was beginning to feel smaller. That video of the guy dancing, and people across the globe joining in on the goofiness, was the perfect backdrop. There was the world, dancing together, as if they were all one happy family.
Naturally, when I couldn’t get the video out of my mind and had to see it again, I turned to Google. I searched for “guy dancing across globe”. And there it was, “Where the Hell is Matt? 2008.” It’s hard to describe how a video can make you feel. Good? Hopeful? In love with the goodness in people? Whatever it is, you need to feel it for yourself to know. Many views later, after being filled up with warm feelings, I looked up Matt’s website and story. Then I added my name to the list of future dancers should he come to my area. I wanted in the worst way to feel more connected to all of humanity, and this seemed to be a sliver of a way to do that. Five years later, I was contacted. In the meantime, he made another video, “Where the Hell is Matt? 2012” (see above).
So, my husband, son, and I drove to Amherst, and met Matt and about 50 other people. We talked, snapped pictures, and then got goofy and danced badly together, knowing we were a part of something that connected us to people around the world. With that comes a little bit of hope that with connection, lots of other good things could follow.
Matt has been to more places than just about anyone and according to his website, believes travel lets you know “we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.” Now that he has two young sons, he doesn’t travel as much, but is committed to making a “Where the Hell is Matt? 2016” video, and hopes to have it done by November. When asked, “What one thing have you learned from your experience?” he hesitated and then said, “People are helpful.”
As I turned to leave after talking with him, he said, “You remind me of someone and I can’t think of who. I’ll be up trying to think of it all night.” My first thought was that maybe I had a doppelganger in a far off land – cool! Then he said, “It’s someone in my life.” I replied with something silly and asked that he let me know once he figured it out. A few steps into my departure, he said, “Oh, it’s my accountant!”
And there you have it! He has met millions of cool people and I remind him of someone who does his taxes. Noting my disappointment, he added, “She’s really nice!” Ok, so I am a little connected to an accountant in Seattle. I am going to go ahead and imagine a 50-something year old woman like me dancing in Scotland and Korea and Cuba and everywhere else, wanting to be connected back.
For all of that, we drove over an hour, across state lines, to dance badly with a guy named Matt and a bunch of people we didn’t know. And, I would do it again if he comes back.