SAN LUIS DORITO, California. This sun-splashed city on the Pacific coast, named after the patron saint of chips and snack foods, has long been known as a place for fun in the sun. “The question we have always asked ourselves is, do we have to choose between a healthy outdoor life style and skin cancer?” says City Manager Mike Tomazewski. “My answer is–why can’t we have both?”
St. Luis Dorito: “Try my new Cool Ranch flavor!”
But all that came to a screeching halt last week when Governor Gavin Newsom overruled local officials and closed all beaches in the state, forcing residents indoors against their will.
Newsom: “Yes it’s stupid, but I had to do something.”
“For the health of our citizens, I find it necessary to require them to stay indoors in close proximity with loved ones,” Newsom said through a surgical-quality face mask. “If they don’t get sick, they can at least get sick of each other.”
But that safety measure has had its own unintended consequences, just as excessive attention to the coronavirus has resulted in an increase in deaths from other causes as those with less fashionable ailments forego treatment and hospitalization. “I trust our governor to make the right decisions,” says Linda Inasa, the 68-year-old wife of a 72-year-old retired airline pilot. “But Roy and I can hardly maintain proper social distancing in our little 1,000 square foot condo.”
That problem triggered a synapse in Linda’s brain, however, and led to a “eureka” moment yesterday. “We both took dancing lessons in grade school,” she recalls with a laugh, “and there’s nothing like the cha-cha-cha to keep a man at bay while at the same time projecting an alluring personality.”
The “cha-cha-cha”–sometimes referred to by its nickname “cha-cha”–is a social dance of Cuban origin performed to a five-beat rhythm, two full and three short. Partners do not touch each other, instead moving in tandem without physical contact. The word “cha-cha-cha” is derived from the sound made by the dancers’ feet as they shuffle across the floor while performing a combination of steps to the latter configuration of beats, with the female partner balancing a basket of fruit on her head.
“Until a vaccine is developed the cha-cha is a vital tool in our arsenal of mixed metaphors to fight this terrible scourge,” said Dr. Philip Krespie of the University of California-Sepulveda Medical School. “I would caution people against off-label uses of alternative dances such as the merengue, which can be confused with a dessert made from egg whites and sugar, with fatal consequences.”
“Everybody check your cha’s–somebody’s got one of mine.”
Once considered passe, the revival of the cha-cha-cha has brought a ray of hope to a nation suffering from a dismal six weeks in virtual lockdown. “I didn’t know how much longer we could hold out,” says Roy Inasa as he backpedals out of his living room with the approach of his wife. “With the cha-cha-cha, staying away from my wife has become a lot more fun!”