Clubbing it Old School

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The time: 10:00PM.  The place:  A nightclub.  The name of the club:  Does it really matter?

We just got here.  I’m clearly out of my element, because I’m usually thinking about going to sleep about now.  I’m taking one for the team tonight because one of my wife’s co-workers is celebrating a birthday.  I have a tall glass of ice water in my hand, and I’m pretty sure that I’m one of the few people present that is not drinking a ‘real’ drink.  Not that I care, there are so many things to observe here that I know I’ll be able to amuse myself with ease.  I sense instantly that I’ve been way out of the loop for quite some time. 

The music is pretty good.  I’m surprised at how many of the songs I actually recognize.  There is classic rock, Michael Jackson and other straight ahead dance tunes with a contagious beat.  The bass is strong and I have to keep checking the cell phone in my pocket.  The vibrations are so strong that it feels like my phone is ringing off the hook.  It’s not; it’s my chest cavity and the rest of my bones keeping the music company. 

My ears don’t like the intrusive volume so much anymore.  I used to come to places like this to hang out and hope that I might meet someone.  It seems kind of ridiculous now, because tonight I can barely hear the person next to me yelling small talk into my ear from a few inches away.  Age and wisdom lead me to believe that this isn’t the best venue for chance happenings.  I have to thank my lucky stars (again) that I’m here with my wife.  Even with a designated driver card in my wallet, I easily concede that I’m happier now than I was back then.    

There are a lot of tattoos in the club tonight.  My eyes don’t have to wander far to see some truly inspirational body art.  I opted out of the tattoo community, but I can appreciate the courage it takes to lay down permanent ink on one’s skin.  There are vivid colors and designs, fine shadings of black and white and full arm sleeves on both men and women.  It still rubs me wrong to see tattoos across the front of the neck and over the scalp, but I won’t try to overlay my judgment atop anyone’s private reasons for making a choice.

I see quite a few grouping of young women standing in semi circles, dancing among themselves.  Their eyes are making the rounds of the club’s perimeter looking for friends or possible matches.  Guys, exuding confidence, weave through the crowd with a shark’s stealth.  Sometimes their paths cross.  Sometimes the spark of fate can be seen over the DJ’s elaborate lighting.  As a parent, I know that there may be a few casualties of hope and heart tonight.  Some things never change.  The gravitational pull of togetherness is strong. 

The smoke is beginning to bother me.  Wherever I stand, I seem to attract a billow from a nearby smoker.  I have to remind myself that this club is only half enclosed and half outdoors.  I start to feel the beginnings of a dry scratchiness in my throat.  I’m not used to raising my voice like this in order to be heard.  It’s time for a refill of my water glass, and I’m beginning to look at my watch. 

Soon, I give my wife the high sign that I would like to go home.  It’s definitely past my bedtime now and I’m pretty sure I’ve had enough observational fun for the night.  It’s been an interesting evening, and amid the activity some memories of the past get wafted from the worn pathways of my mind.  The music was nice.  The water was refreshing.  Our group of friends made it more comfortable for me to re-experience the club life.  I don’t miss it, but have a better understanding of its place in our society.

Photo: Slovakia Green Tours


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