(Even I Want to Get Out of the) House Party

Stay home and read? Twist my arm! Social events tend to make me anxious, so social distancing hasn’t been as difficult for me as it can be for others. But the other day even I grew weary of social distancing and got the urge to go out.

You know how it is, one minute you’re watching a home repair video, then before you know it, it’s two hours later and you find yourself watching old music videos and missing your clubbing days.

My clubbing days! I should point out that I only started saying that to look cool in front of my family. “You don’t recognize that song? Oh, I must know it from my clubbing days,” I would say, as if I were reliving nights at South Beach.

At the time, I didn’t mention to my siblings that my “clubbing days” were just a six-month-period when my (then) husband and I would occasionally go out dancing with two other couples. That wouldn’t have sounded as cool.

To maintain that aura of coolness, I still refer to my clubbing days whenever I get the chance. To be honest, it doesn’t come up all that often. The most memorable thing from those days isn’t even about a club—it’s the night I forgot my ID.

I realized that I didn’t have my ID as soon as we got out of the vehicle. We were about 30 minutes from home, so the others convinced me to at least try to get in the club before going back for the ID, “The bouncers probably aren’t even checking IDs yet!” they said. (Some of them had already been drinking a while, so their logic game was not strong.)

The club was checking IDs of course, but I did get in. The bouncer questioned me for a minute then let me in because—as he said—no one pretends to be 31 years old. (Also, I’ve always thought he had probably seen us roll up to the club in a minivan.)

Yay! Since I couldn’t drink without an ID, designated driver duty was transferred to me. That was a bit less “yay,” but no big deal. At least I got to stay and dance.

It wasn’t until the drive home that we realized the flaw in the plan: I’d have to drive through the military base gate to get us home. During the day, the base sticker on the vehicle got you through the gate, but at 3:00 am you’d have to show a military ID to get through. I, the only sober person, didn’t have any form of ID with me. But we didn’t have much of a choice, so we decided to give it a try.

Guy at the gate: Good morning. ID, please.

Me: I’m sorry. I left all my IDs at home. I’m the designated driver.

Gate guy: (giving me a “Are you kidding me right now?” look)

Me: (smiling and trying to exude “good citizen” vibes)

Gate guy looked at the backseat of the van. The three Marines were sitting almost at attention, but all of them had gigantic smiles. Because, you know, grinning like an idiot disguises the fact that you’ve been drinking for hours. Whatever. My only chance at being allowed on base in the middle of the night was because I was chauffeuring a minivan full of drunk people, so it was probably just as well that they weren’t fooling anyone.

Gate guy: (with a sigh) Does anyone here have an ID?

My husband: (still with the goofy grin) I’m her husband. Here’s my ID.  

Gate guy: (comparing the ID and the sticker on the minivan): Staff Sergeant?

Great. Something else we hadn’t planned for—my husband’s enlisted ID didn’t match the officer sticker on my friend’s minivan.   

My friend: (less drunk and therefore able to have a conversation without grinning maniacally) It’s my van. Here’s my ID.

Gate guy went to confer with the other people working the gate. At this point I was sure they were not going to let us in. I wondered if they’d let us park the van and walk. It was about two miles from the gate to my house. What a fun walk that would be. Maybe we could call a cab from the gate…

Gate guy:  Here are your IDs. You can go on home.

Me: Thank you!

He waved us through. My theory is he: A-was supremely over it, and B-didn’t feel like looking up the code for “impersonating an officer’s wife after hours without a license.”

As soon as we got through the gate, the guys—who should have just been happy they didn’t have to walk two miles—started a play-by-play review of the conversation and accused me of batting my eyelashes, etc. “Oh, thank you!” they chorused in falsettos.

That scene at the gate—the grins, the falsettos, the worrying about herding drunk Marines home— is what I remember most about those “clubbing days.” And while it is a great memory, it’s not an example of an extensive party lifestyle.  

So, since I have almost zero party-girl history, what is this sudden urge to go out? Pre-pandemic I probably attended a social event twice a year, and usually had to convince myself beforehand that it “wouldn’t be that bad.” But last week I was sad that I couldn’t share a dance floor with dozens of other people! Granted, going out dancing is the best way to socialize: A-dancing! B-there’s not much conversation on a dance floor. If I’m wishing for something different to do, going out dancing does make the most sense. It’s not like I’d been wishing I could sign up for a debate club.

Once the pandemic is over, I might have to hunt up a bar or dance club. Or not. Either way, I’ll keep dancing at home. It’s the best club around—I don’t have to show ID, the music is always great, and I only have to talk to myself.

Party on!

***A note to those of you who thrive on social interaction: If the pandemic is even getting to me, you must be going extra stir crazy. I’m so sorry. I hope we all get some relief soon. Much love!***

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