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The Clubbing Scene #2

A narrative of the second time I went to a club.

2-14-2003 --> 2-14-2004

 

By Michael Chungkun Chen
Copyright (C) 2004 All Rights Reserved.

You guys thought that I would never have gone clubbing again?You thought wrong.This time I went to a club for a get together to recognize the anniversary of the birth of one of my high school friends.I havenít kept too much in contact with her, for about three years after high school neither one of us had each otherís contact info.Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, a quick search one night while talking to another high school buddy brought up her email.We were talking about computers, and those good old LAN parties the guys used to throw, and then got to wondering how the people from high school has been doing.So we got to exchanging the contact info for people we kept in touch, and then searching the Internet for those that drifted away.Itís amazing how much the Internet knows.

Now back to the present.So Iím back at home working on my Thesis for my masters, and along came a email from this long lost high school friend.Now that I was back home, I have even less opportunity to get out and be social in general, so I jumped at the opportunity to see what it was like to club with different people.

So the final arrangement was to meet at Back Bar in downtown San Jose at 10 pm, or around that time.Me being the geek that I am, I go early.I started getting dressed around 8:40 pm; since they were enforcing a no sneaker, t-shirt, jeans, or baggy clothes policy, I just toss on a button up shirt and put on my black ďworkĒ shoes.Iíve been wearing slacks as a habit, so that part was fine.

I combed my hair, and went out the door to my car.Yes, this time I drove myself since I am back home in San Jose.I basically started driving around 8:45 pm, took fifteen minutes to get to the local area, then I spent fifteen more minutes trying to find the place.No big sign, and a tiny building means itís hard to find if youíve never been around the area.I did grow up here, but I was very hermit like, actually I still am.

So now at 9:15 pm Iíve found the place, I just have to find somewhere to park.The lot that was next to the club was 7$ flat, and I didnít want to pay it; later on the fee rose to 10$ as the spaces were starting to run out.Across the street was a large parking lot and appeared to be free, but of course I didnít see that until I found parking three blocks away diagonally.But I did get to park in a nice multi-leveled garage and it was free.So by 9:30 pm I was parked, and thus began my pedestrian journey.Of course you canít travel diagonally through the blocks, so I ended up walking six blocks, which is actually cake since Iím used to a lot more walking.

I get to the parking lot that now costs $10 to park, and I grab my cell out to see what the progress was on the other people.I gave my friendís friendís cell a call since my friend didnít have a cell phone.She picked up, but the reception was bad, I tried calling again, no go, then she called back and it worked and I talked to my friend and found out that they were still on their way.It was almost 10 pm at the time, probably a couple of minutes before, so I was glad to be there early.The waiting game thus begins.Of course thankfully my other friend who lives in San Francisco gives me a call, and I chatted with her while she was on her break.She gets off at 10:30 pm that night, and we chatted about this and that for about fifteen minutes.Her break was over and I let her go back to work, and I resumed my waiting.I also noticed there were other guys that were outside waiting too.Little did I know, these guys were waiting for my friend too.There was even a guy from UCLA, and some others from IHS, my high school.So I walk around the club end of the block, and generally just idly let time pass.

I started to put earplugs into one of my ears, so I could still hear, and would only have to fiddle with one earplug later on.I just recently bought those plugs so I could enjoy the music and clubbing and still be able to hear afterwards.Those earplugs lowered the sound by 33 decibels.So more waiting for me as I walk around the area trying to get a feel for the local setting.Around 10:35 pm I went up to the girl that had the checklist of RSVPíed guests.I basically asked if the other people waiting for the birthday group entered yet or not.She had no idea, but it didnít hurt to ask.I was antsy because after 11 pm, everyone who entered had to pay $10; before 11 pm it was only $5 if we RSVPíed.

Fear not, the birthday girl and her posse of friends arrived about 10:45pm, and we all got a ticket from the RSVP list girl.On the outside there was a hired security guy checking IDís to make sure all who entered was of legal age to drink.No problem there.When inside, there was a girl at the counter collecting the tickets and money.A simple five dollars, and I was in.A little further in was another security person doing a search to make sure there was no weapons.He efficiently checked the right side of my jacket by running both hands along the fabric.As he got to the left side I pointed out the birthday card I had with me was he passed by it.And I grabbed my keys out as he patted down the outside of my legs.He examined my keys very closely because I have a lot of keys and lanyards and non-load-bearing-quick-attach rings.He was very nice and informed me that he was just looking to make sure there were no blades on the keychain.I easily passed that criteria and went on inside.

While inside, I was quite disoriented.I stayed near the outside where I knew most of the group was still at since they were still getting in.I only saw briefly the faces of the people in the group, and the birthday girl had changed a bit in appearance since I saw her last.Of course I still recognized her, but it was hard to tell sometime because there was another girl there that looked just like what she used to look like.I quickly locked on to the guy in the white shirt with long hair because I was certain he was part of the group and he stood out in the crowd.He was quite tall too.

While standing around waiting for everyone to get in, I quickly surveyed the scene, the place was still pretty empty relative to later on in the night, but it was pretty full considering there was maybe fifty to a hundred people already there to the three hundredish people later that night.This place only had two rooms, both had a bar, and dancing areas, and werenít too big.The room was perhaps fifty feet by twenty.And the other was larger and L shaped.It was also connected to another club on the other side.Most the people already there were Asian of some sort, maybe even up to 90%.

Once everyone was in, the birthday girl and the organizing girl got a few shots of whiskey, or what I thought was whiskey for every one to drink.I guess I saw six shots.But among twentyish people, thatís not a lot.They toasted to the birthday girl and everyone drank some.Most downed the shot, some didnít drink, and a few just sipped some.The birthday girl herself took a sip and either didnít like the stuff or wanted other people to have some too.She was offering it to these guys, one didnít want any, one took a sip, and then she offered to me.Normally I wouldnít touch the stuff, since itís bitter as heck, and provides nothing good for me, but it was an occasion, and she literally put it in my hand, so I figured why not.Of course the idea that other people did already drink from the glass crossed my mind, but I figured three things made it ok.None of these people look like they have a cold, and the stuff in there would likely kill any germs on contact since people have used drinking alcohol as disinfectant when nothing else is available, and finally I drank from a side that I didnít see anyone drink from yet.So upon the birthday girlís urging I downed the half shot that was left.

It was ok going down, but it was still bitter, and when it hit bottom, the warmth quickly surged upwards from my stomach to my throat and then disappeared.Seriously, half a shot is nothing when taking into account my body mass.More than two hundred pounds, and I had eaten dinner less than a couple hours before.So I felt a second of internal warmth, and some lingering taste for a few moments.Nothing more.

After those shots, the girls led the group to the other room where they showed everyone where the reserved table for our group was, it was a nice table with a sign saying reserved for the birthday girl, and a few couches around it.One of the girls was trying to get everyone to place their jackets there, but I guess people didnít feel comfortable leaving their stuff around yet.We all went through the back door and found ourselves in another club.The two were linked and probably owned and operated by the same people, but it was nice that people had three clubs to choose from.We danced for a few minutes in that new club and I put my jacket down on a chair by the wall after another girl did that too.But someone figured out it was a totally different club and wasnít hosted by the same group, so they decided to head back, I grabbed my jacket as did the other girl, and we headed back to the reserved table we had.The two of us left our jackets on one of the couches and headed into the other room to dance.

So this big group of sevenish girls and tenish guys are dancing.There was a lot of group and dance dynamics going on there, people moving around, people getting out to rest, others coming back in, others going for drinks.I stayed with the dancing for roughly half an hour.Then I noticed that the group I was with was starting to thin out, so I headed over to our reserve area to get my jacket.I brought it over to where we were dancing for there were some couches over there too, and placed it there.For about fifteen minutes we danced more, and then they all decided to head back over to the reserved table.I grab my jacket and followed.

So some of the group sat here for a bit, and I hung around for a few moments and then found a really nice place where I place my jacket, it was against the corner, on the sofa and I put the dark side up so it just looks like a lump, and it was hard to even see it as separate from the sofa in the dark pulsing lights.With my jacket finally settled for the night, I head back to the dance floor.I found the group and tried to dance towards them.There isnít a lot of maneuvering space so you just had to gently part the dancers to make a walk way; I didnít realize I could do this so easily at first, so I had to deal with the mingling traffic and it took a long time to get to places.So time passes quickly when youíre having fun, soon all the people from my group were staring to go rest so I decided to duck out also.

So the group was once again gathered at the table this was probably around 12 midnight, and I just stood around.I was waiting for the group to go back to the dance area since I wasnít really tired.So I just stood.A couple of minutes passed and then the group decided for another go.I quickly followed and more dancing ensued.This time I just stuck with the dancing bit for as long as I could.Some of the time I was just dancing with the group, some of the times I was just dancing by my self.Some of the time I was just watching people dance while I was pretending to dance.But I kept myself moving as much as I could in the confines of the crowd.By this time the full three hundredish people were in and it was a pretty crowded floor.

Soon enough I found myself thirsty and went to the bar to get some tap water.Yes, you heard me right, water.It was actually free, and they had ice, and a cool dispenser spray handle thing.So a cup of water and some ice I went back for more dancing.I had finished the water before I got six feet away from the bar, but I still wanted to eat the ice.So I held the cup while bopping to the beat.Of course after a few moments, I realized I didnít want to carry the cup anymore and was looking for a way to put it down.This time I went back to the table.When I got there, it seemed that all the girls from my group were there resting and sitting on the couches.I sat down at one of the empty couch and rested by legs a bit while crunching on ice.It was probably 1 am by now.

For maybe ten minutes of resting, they decided to dance more, so I opted to follow, but there was a girl who fell asleep or was just laying there, I saw a guy from our group there, so I started to leave, but then I noticed the guy leave too so I headed back to the sofa I sat at.I rested for a few more minutes and a couple of guys from our group came and left.When I felt rested up, I stood up and made sure there was someone from our group there before I left.I didnít want to leave someone sleeping there by herself.

So back to the dancing I go I had a little trouble finding the rest of the group, but not much, so I continued to have a blast.Hey with my ear plugs in I could actually enjoy the music without worrying about my hearing.So I danced and danced, and by 1:40 am, I notice the other people in my group wasnít there, so I sought out to find them.I found them outside the bathrooms, some people were smoking, some people were leaving, and all in all I just stood around and observed.

Almost two, but defiantly before it, they people started closing down the club, they had everyone go out through the front, which was the other club, not the way we came in.So that was interesting.We all walked out with the crowd, tried to gather outside, but were directed to go.Crowd control isnít easy, and it isnít fun, so I tried best to move along, and get the otherís to follow the ones in our group that was moving off.People were splitting off from our big group, it is now after midnight, officially my friendís birthday, so before I left for my car, I handed her a birthday card I bought earlier that day, and after a goodbye hug, I was on my way to my car.Walking six blocks later and up four levels of stairs I was at my car, I got in, buckled up, and drove home.

Boy it was a fun night, I can enjoy dancing for itís a great way to exercise and people always do funny and interesting things on the dance floor, so itís always entertaining to watch.Itís not often that I get out, and every little bit adds up to my grand total for being social.And I did have a great time, actually a much better time than last time.I think it was because I was with a group, and I didnít feel that the group was judging me.The first time I went I was constantly on guard, and didnít do what I wanted to do.This time I just did whatever I felt like.If I was thirsty I got some water, if I was tired, which I wasnít too often, I went to the table and sat on the sofa for a little.If I felt like dancing all crazy, I did that too.Hey Iím a horrible dancer, I canít hear the beats sometime, and I have no moves, but that doesnít stop me from having fun.

I also think the ear plugs helped a lot, though there were certain times I was self conscious about them, most of the time I just forgot I had them in or shrugged off the feeling.I mean most these people donít know me, and I donít have to justify myself for wanting to preserve my hearing.They pump it loud enough for me to think it is still too loud even with earplugs in, but for short durations itís ok, and my ears arenít ringing at all.Lesson from this time, go clubbing with friends, itís a great place to dance.But wear earplugs, you can hear 100% of everything and then some, but your ears will be happier afterwards.If youíre self conscious, they sell skin colored earplugs.I wore orange ones, though itís hard to see because only a little show, itís not invisible.

Boy are my legs sore J

- //\ ichael( hen


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