Disclaimer: No illicit substances were ingested for the writing of this post. No real pictures were taken, either, as writer was told that cameras were a no-no. (This last piece of information proved spurious, much to the writer’s chagrin).
Anniversary Week. On Sunday Jerome turned 37 (Bonne anniversaire!). Then Wednesday was our four-year anniversary of meeting (Jerome always says I was the best birthday gift ever.)
Perhaps trying to defy his age (he now equates 37 with “basically 40”), Jerome decided he’d like to go to an all-night rave to celebrate. Oh, dear god.
I hope you’ve noticed that I try to be a good sport about things – pretty much open to anything. But I can’t deny that staying put in my pj’s sounded just as appealing as spending twelve hours at PSYCHEdelight (no, really, that was the actual name of it).
But once in the car (and in street clothes), I was ready for adventure. I think my anthropology background (not to mention my love of a good story) often serve me well: used to being an outsider, I’m happy to observe strange new worlds.
And strange it was. Past the peripherique, we were now in St. Denis, just north of Paris. We turned down a darkly-lit road, the surreal scene beginning before we were even inside.
We entered a huge room with high ceilings, all dotted with a thousand tiny lights. This was Eiffel Docks. I could see why this place was used for film shoots; space enough for any manner of enormous sets.
We were in the techno room and it wasn’t long before I felt a headache coming on.
“Are you ok?” Jerome asked. I looked worse for wear already.
The repetitive sound (noise?) reverberated throughout my body; the bass seemed way too loud.
“Fine,” I said. “Just having a heart attack.”
We went outside to find a much smaller stage. The music here was “ambient” – much better for the headache. But, hello? Whose idea was it to set up a tent for this event? As if thin plastic walls provided any shield to the freezing temperatures and whipping wind. We’re outside, people! All this lounging on pillows floor-level is not fooling me.
Next room: Trance.
Two girls sat at a table offering make-up (face-painting?). The next table over was illuminated by strings of Christmas lights and a glowing painting of some Indian god (oh people, please). This table sold candy (for one can only assume, the munchies. Let’s get real).
Which brings me to the number of Red Cross volunteers in bright orange vests. Yes, at least 10 Croix Rouge workers armed with first-aid kits milled around, just waiting for something to happen.
Not that I didn’t know, but this is when it really sunk in: extreme partying was expected. And I am not an extreme partier. I mean, I’m fun and all, but I usually don’t require trained medical professionals at the ready.
Anyway, it’s good they were there, I suppose. Though I didn’t get to see them in action because the fateful hour arrived and it was still way too early (by most people’s standards) for that kind of drama. But 1:30 AM – there would soon be no metro. Decision time. I’m not ready to go yet – I am now actually dancing! (might as well) – but I don’t want to be stranded here later on, either.
Because, honey, what time do you think we’ll be leaving? I could probably make it to about 4.
Oh, your friend is DJ’ing at 8 AM? Like in the morning? Like the time when we should be snuggled under the comforter as first light is breaking? Yeah, that 8 AM.
Um, ok, I really don’t know if I’m going to make it that long. Maybe I should go? You sure, you sure we can’t compromise here? Oh no? Parasense at 4 AM is good, too? And this thing goes until noon? And we paid 30 euros so you’re certainly not leaving before?
Ok, I’ll go.
……..Only to miss the last metro……..And not find a taxi……..And ride the night bus for the first time…….And get completely lost.
Ring, ring: Are you home safe yet, cherie?
No! I’m walking home now. How could you let me leave like that, in the middle of the night?
And what? The party got much better once I left? I’m missing the fire dancers? Ok, now I’m pissed. I’ve just spent over an hour on two different night-buses when I could have been watching fire-dancers?
So this, my friends, is my Faux Pas of the week. If you’re going to a rave (please, never again), there are probably some rules you should set beforehand.
Rule 1: Be prepared to either leave with the last metro, have the number of a taxi who is sure to come pick you up even in this desolate place – or just resolve yourself to staying all night. Sure, you won’t feel too hot tomorrow, but the way you’ve just scrambled home doesn’t make you feel too fresh, either.
Rule 2: If the music (?) makes you feel like you’re experiencing a migraine and/or a heart attack, this might not be the scene for you. But don’t be alarmed; there are several Red Cross volunteers available to assist.
Rule 3: Even if it’s not the scene for you, you’re already here. So maybe you should just roll with it. At least until the fire-dancing begins. I mean, come on.
Rule 4: (which I am now projecting) Even if your wife is not as rave-ready as you would like, call her if you’ve been gone over 24 hours. Because you shouldn’t be away that long. Really.
An interesting side-note: the crowd was quite mixed. There were those who looked like rave regulars (think baggy pants, fluorescent-colored dreads), but there were also more stylish types, too. Me, just jeans and a black top and as “normal” as can be? Not out of place, either.
I don’t think there’s any need to worry just yet about getting too old. I mean, I certainly don’t feel like a grown-up after nights like these. (Could that be the silver lining?)