Chaos Attraction

Silent! At The Disco

2018-07-30, 10:27 p.m.

(First draft of a storytelling essay. I'm trying to do it Matthew Dicks-style.)

I’m a nerd who loves to dance. Those two qualities don’t usually go together in a person.

I’ve taken ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop and hula, so I’m well versed in various dance styles. Even though I wouldn’t count as a “real” dancer because I don’t have the body for it, this makes me an amazing club dancer. The more space I have on the dance floor, the crazier I get and I don’t care. Ballet moves during “I Want It That Way?” Why not?

BuI I do not get too many opportunities to club dance. My friends are nerds who don’t dance. I had one roommate who would go clubbing but she was only into country line dancing (add that to my skills now, I’ve done that too). And while I will go to many places by myself with confidence, I’ve learned the hard way that being both female and a weirdo magnet means that it’s just not safe for me to go to drinking and dancing establishments alone. So I’ve always felt like that’s something I never get enough of.

I went to the California State Fair one year by myself. I couldn’t get anyone else to go with me that year, but I was actually fine with that because this year, they had a Silent Disco. The state fair usually has a few buildings dedicated to some kind of odd thing or other (dinosaurs, or the history of candy), and this year they were putting on a Silent Disco.

What this is is that when you walk in, you are given a set of headphones that have three different listening channels on them, color-coded red, blue, and green. DJ’s run each channel so you can switch back and forth and listen to whatever music you want to, rather than everyone in the room listening to one booming track. This is why it’s called a “silent” disco, so presumably you can throw a dance party without annoying the neighbors.

Anyway, I was excited to NOT have anyone else with me this year so that I could do all the dancing I wanted without anyone getting tired or bored (or in the case of one ex, literally dancing me backward off the dance floor when he wanted to leave). I first went in the morning when I knew I’d still have a lot of energy and then went back again later in the early evening when I was pretty tired.

They had a giant pair of inflatable headphones in the building and of course a disco ball, and various colored lights and symbols being projected on the walls. The red channel appeared to be biased towards country music, the blue channel tended towards 70’s disco, and the green channel was current pop hits (i.e. Justin Bieber) and/or techno.

I had brought way too much stuff into the fair, which is to say I had my backpack and a bag o’ stuff because I’d bought some clothes before I found the disco. I left my big bag by the side wall and danced nearby it to guard the stuff, and I danced with my backpack on even though that was very weird, especially while twirling. Since I had all the stuff and later was also pretty tired, I was dancing a bit less crazy than usual, so I paid attention to what others were doing. You’d find yourself figuring out what the other channels were playing when folks were mouthing along the words to what they were hearing. You’d watch a group of dancers with the green lights on and wonder if their music was better than yours, then you’d switch what you were listening to and see if it was. You’d be dancing along doing your own thing and acting out a song (Mariah Carey’s Emotions) and then wonder if others could figure out what song you were listening to from your acting skills.

For the record, silent discos are not silent when you take the headphones off. Everyone be talking. But it’s still quieter than your usual club.

I had a great time, even though by the time I did my second go-round I had hiked around the fair so much I was starting to have chafing (even in shorts) and had to modify my dancing to more of an energetic sway. By the end of the day, according to my various pedometers on my phone, I’d either “walked” ten or twelve miles and 22000 steps. Score!

Two days later, I was yakking on about the silent disco to anyone who asked me about my weekend, including at one point the gynecologist (because I had to explain the chafing). Once I got back to the office on Monday, I was having yet another drama filled day at work. Everyone was in a panic and wanted me to do everything for them NOW, and for various reasons involving other people I couldn’t do everything they wanted, and generally speaking I don’t feel good about myself at my job when everyone is upset at me. Which seems like it’s all. The. time.

Anyway, as the day went on, I had forgotten that t I’d been invited to a work party for everyone who worked on the commencement ceremonies. I don’t actually WORK on the commencement ceremonies, but I do their proofreading, which was especially chaotic and drama filled this year. But I did get invited to said party, even though I knew very few people at all involved in commencement beyond the few folks I email a lot at that time of the year. As usual we were having crunch panic time at work again, and I probably shouldn’t have left to go under those circumstances, but for all the hell I went through doing the commencement booklet, I wanted a break.. I figured I’d just go, get some free food, and probably just skip out and go back to working again.

But this party turned out to be a lot cooler than your usual campus party held during work hours.
They made you wear name tags, but you could also pick out a ribbon to wear with yours, like you see at conventions. Such as: “I Read Your Email,” “Trouble Maker,” “My Ribbon Is Better Than Yours,” “Official Smarty Pants,” “Bored Member,” “No Whining,” “Worker Bee,” “Runs With Scissors,” “Somebody,” “Really?”, “Workaholic,” and “Clueless." I picked out “I Color Outside The Lines,” which was done in purple with rainbow lettering. Most folks picked out stuff like “Worker Bee” and “Workaholic,” by the way.

But In addition to the food (ice cream and cake), they had activities. They had cornholing--I’m talking the game where you throw beanbags into a hole, not anything dirty. They had Giant Jenga. They had rock painting, the hot new campus fad. But I didn’t do much of any of that, because someone beckoned me into the hidden room.

In the room, well, it was black, they had various light up glasses, rings, neon bracelets, and everything you need for in the dark clubbing. And...they had Silent Disco headphones! With much better (i.e. not safe for children) soundtracks to choose from off the operator’s phone and ipad. Her name was Cindy and her ribbon said “Trouble Maker.” And she was fun. When a dirty song came on one of the channels, she’d hold up a sign saying something about how warning, some songs have explicit lyrics. But nobody cared, because hey, headphones! While I can’t say I saw huge numbers of folks dancing, some folks did get into it, or as much as they could do in nice work dresses and high heels in some cases.

I danced my ass off. I did ballet all over the floor. I did hip hop all over the floor.” I strutted my stuff during “24 Karat Magic” and “Bad Romance.” We all tried to dance to the Cha Cha Slide song, which if you haven’t heard it is akin to the Hokey Pokey. (“Right foot, let's stomp / Left foot, let's stomp / Cha cha real smooth”). I danced dirty to songs like “It Wasn’t Me.” AT WORK. I WAS DOING ALL OF THIS WHILE STILL ON WORK TIME. Almost as good was the fact that I only barely knew about two people at this party, only one of which entered the dance room, so it’s not like I had to deal with anyone I have to work with on a regular basis seeing my dirty dancing!

There is nothing like getting to bust a move when you weren’t expecting to get to do so that day. Especially when you are getting paid to dirty dance with blingy headphones and light up neon jewelry. How often does that happen in anyone’s life? So I enjoyed every minute of it while it lasted...and after the crowds left, I went to go paint some rocks.

There’s nothing like once in a while, having a great, unexpectedly awesome moment at work. There’s nothing quite like getting to show off hugely once in a while with no consequences. And there’s nothing quite like thinking at work, for once, “I am too fabulous.”

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