Something about night time is simply alluring to me. I know I’ve talked about it a little before in other posts, but I’m feeling this one right now. I really can’t put my finger on what it is, but I’m happiest and “in tune” with the world during late night and early morning. These past few nights I’ve been out until midnight and beyond doing fun stuff. I’m such an angsty rebel, partying all night, refusing to bend to the rules of being a minor. Maybe not like that, but that seems to be a stereotype of my age group when it’s past 10:00. The past three nights I’ve been working on the production of Shrek, the school musical. It’s over now, sadly, but man was it fun!
The first night was spectacular, but it hit a road block when our usual IHOP visit had to be cancelled due to their lack of working phones. So instead we went to Denny’s, which let me tell you, wasn’t nearly as good. It was really kind of them to allow ~40 of us to storm into their restaurant on such short notice, but even looking at the menu, I wasn’t happy with it. IHOP is by far a better restaurant in my opinion. The thing with that though is because Shrek is such a long show, we got to IHOP around 10:00, and Denny’s close to 10:15-10:30. An hour or so there and I was getting home around 11:30. Something just feels kind of cool about staying out at night. I love night, and normally we’re told that we are supposed to sleep at night, so staying out at night feels adventurous, even a little rebellious. Even still, going out several miles from home with a ton of friends/peers late at night is just fun to me. But the other nights are the real meat of the story.
So the second night is always our cast party. We head over to the cast party, and we break off into our usual groups. I don’t like being defined by my age group, or being a “teen,” but I guess I have to submit to it. I’m not sure how old my readers are, or if they’re familiar with different customs, terms, and things of that nature, so don’t be offended as I walk some people through it. I’m going to speak on behalf of my fellow teens and theater nerds. We love pizza, and we love it a lot. Take your love of pizza, and now triple it and you’ll get the typical teen’s appetite for pizza. So now picture your favorite local pizza store (for us it’s Pizza Casbah, though I’m biased towards Positano’s, though Casbah is still delicious) and make them XL pizzas. The pizza boxes were as big if not bigger than my torso. That’s a large pizza. So now there’s somewhere a total of ten pizzas through the night, and not one piece was left over. Add on some chips, cookies, and sodas and you have teenage heaven. This is all around 10:30-11:00 as well. Late night, being loud, having delicious and unhealthy food is paradise. For a little while I sat on one of the couches and participated in a “cuddle puddle,” which is just a bunch of people squishing really close into a puddle of cuddling. It’s pretty typical, though this one was on a couch so it was more of a cuddle line. Anyway, I was on one end of it so it wasn’t really a cuddle at all. There seems to be some kind of attraction among teenagers to close, warm contact. Who knows where that comes from? I sure don’t (sarcasm of course). I’m not going to lie, cuddle puddles are the best, most awkward thing I know of while still maintaining some innocence. I love them. Add in the night factor and there’s something even better.
So then this one guy who doesn’t even go to our school, much less participate in our theater department, starts some music and it turns into a kind of night club. Dancing isn’t something I’d consider myself good at, but it’s still really fun to do. So we have probably 15 people cramming in as close as we can and just dancing in a variety of manners. Grinding was surprisingly not as popular as I thought it would be. At least not intentional grinding. Some of it is bound to happen when packed so close together, but nobody was like, “making babies” if you know what I mean. For a good half hour, we just move our dance mob around the basement of the house and dance in a giant mob of people. Then after probably 11:15-11:30, people start losing interest or leaving. Gradually it gets down to six, then five, then finally four of us left. The original dance guy, whose name I discovered is Ian, left and it was just four of us. It was past midnight when I finally had enough and went and watched Shrek in the other room. I spent probably 45 minutes or so dancing horrendously, but you stop caring after the first five minutes anyway. In the other room, I squeezed into a couch that already had four people on it and I was squished the rest of the movie, even more so when we added a sixth person. Just making some friends, no? That was fun, and a nice way to cool down after intense dancing. Finally, I left just after 12:30-12:40. It was an awesome night.
It made me think though about myself. The house we were in had a section of wall covered in crosses that I would look at occasionally. While dancing, I began to consider my own actions. Wild dancing isn’t typically seen as something a “good Christian” would do, especially the kind of dancing where we’re all sweating in a writhing pit of bodies, rubbing all sorts of body parts together, intentionally or otherwise. I looked at other people who I know are Christians, or others who are Mormons, and many of them were participating. Personally, I thought the whole thing stayed innocent enough to where I didn’t need to worry. It wasn’t exactly wholesome and pure, but I don’t think it was dirty and overall provocative. It made me wonder though about my outward appearance to other people. I’ll tell you, and I bet most people would tell you the same, I don’t really appear to be a raving partyer. I have no idea how to spell that word by the way. It says it’s wrong no matter how I spell it. I think to most people, my first impression is generally pretty reserved. My closer friends would probably say I’m not all that reserved, rather I’m pretty eccentric, loud, hopefully funny, and I make weird and random noises a lot. But I bet even they wouldn’t guess me the person who wants to be in the center of a bunch of sweaty bodies dancing crazily, much less enjoying it. But I do. I believe in my judgment to discern when it get’s too bad, and I don’t that was too bad. It was fun. Being that close to people at that time of night made me feel more attached to all of them, which is a weird feeling. It became a mob mentality of sorts, but less radical. I’m not even sure if the other people really noticed me, or what their interpretations of it were, but I like having those moments where I feel like I belong somewhere, that I’m around people of similar interest, where people who don’t normally associate with each other leave their prejudices at the door and just have fun together. Leaving that party, I felt happy and mature in a way. I had stayed out late, had fun with friends, and I was on my way home. It was nice.
The final night we struck the set after the show, which means we took it apart. Or we started to. We weren’t done with the show, the talking with friends/family, eating our pizza and all that until about 10:30, so we took as much stuff apart as we could in a half hour. We swept the stage, which is just a theater tradition, and then a number of us went to the Alley Cat, a coffee shop downtown in an alley. It is a really sketchy place. It’s right above a hookah bar, next to a smoke shop, and it’s pretty run down, but it’s got awesome art and it’s really popular with all sorts of people, mainly college students. I made a bad turn, driving a suburban and all, and alleys are not suburban friendly, so I was terrified of crashing it into something, but I didn’t. Eventually I found a parking spot about a block away since all the nearby parking is private property. Walking down that alley with all the people smoking, drinking, talking and the like made me feel like a college student. I actually feel a little scared just because it’s dark and I don’t think I can trust anyone in an alley, especially one next to a smoke shop next to a college campus. We piled into an area and just had our drinks and socialized in a relatively peaceful and relaxed climate. Leaving I walked back down the alley past midnight and just started thinking. I thought about Fort Collins and my life. I thought about what I would do with someone who had never seen any part of my life, and what that day would consist of. I would definitely have them experience downtown Fort Collins with me after midnight in an alley and a coffee shop. It’s just something I think people don’t really understand, but it can be so enriching and/or entertaining.
Most of all, it made me feel independent more than any other time I’ve felt independent, which is a new and exhilarating feeling. I felt confident in my ability to survive on my own and still have fun. When I move to Utah, I won’t be completely lost and clinging to mom and dad (I hope). I felt like my own person and that I could handle myself. It’s so great to have that confidence and feel like part of a social group, capable of making my own decisions without the okay of my parents or having them mediate it. It became just me and my friends making our own decisions and sharing that common bond on all three of those nights. Now I feel entirely like my own person. We’ll see how long that lasts.