A few winters ago, Gentle Reader, as you may have gathered, I was curiously close to a group of young people. Nothing funny – only six or seven years difference in age, but a significant enough gap that mindset, hobbies, attitudes about the world were significantly different. The boys decided to take me to a rave. I agreed.
That’s right: the pompous Reverend Doctor, who thinks like a licentious Jane Austen, who wants to grow up to be Sebastian Flyte – I decided to expand my boundaries, and attend one of these young people’s entertainments. If one doesn’t try new things, how is one to explore the bounty of the world around us?
Naturally, I hadn’t the slightest idea of what to wear. I was given to understand that bright colours were quite the thing, so I went down to the local thrift shop, where I purchase the raw materials that I torture into sartorial splendour. I… may have gotten distracted. I may have tried to purchase a few items that would have versatility in my everyday wardrobe. This is what happened:
You can’t tell, but the blazer shines like a disco ball in any sort of light – it’s a pale blue with silver thread, making the overall a sparkly grey. It has rainbow undertones – positively luminescent. PERFECT FOR RAVING IN, correct?
No, as it turns out.
Evidently, this is de rigueur:
I may have been over-dressed.
Well, we parked near the train, which we took to an unfamiliar part of the local City. Our guide, B., was the only one who regularly frequented this sort of thing, and as it turns out, this particular event was at a new venue – one he wasn’t familiar with. However, we finally made it to the terminus, and stepped off the train into a dilapidated, industrial, part of town. As a panic attack had started punching my lungs on the train ride, I decided to explore, and look for a local bar, instead of going into a tightly packed warehouse with garishly dressed teenagers jumping savagely about.
I walked for blocks in both directions – there was no liquor to be had. Neither was there anything intoxicating at the grocer’s that I found. At the train station, an elderly woman, round as a peach and twice as sweet, warned me against the neighbourhood, given my dress and ethnicity. She urged me to ride the train, back and forth, until my friends were done dancing. This I did, as there was precious little else to do, unless I wanted to join them in the rave – which I could not, under any circumstances, bring myself to do.
After my second circuit by rail, there was an announcement – this was the last train running that night. This, despite the research we had done to ascertain that the trains ran until two a.m. on Sunday morning – no. Midnight would be the last time the trolley was going our way. I debarked -Eleven Thirty!- and telephoning would be completely useless. I steeled myself to enter the smoker’s area outside the warehouse, hoping to catch a glimpse, or even a glimp, of a familiar face. Luckily, I saw Miss S. and Miss H.
I told them of our little difficulty, and the ladies – closer to my own age by a great deal – they sprang into action. Into the warehouse, dodging dancers, generally wrangling together our party, until all outside, in the relative quiet, I could explain. We dashed to the station, in time to see our train pull away. It had just gone twelve. We found a bus stop, scanning the list of times and buses, hoping to find one still running in our direction. Though there were some listed, when we telephoned, we were informed that the next bus would be at seven the next morning.
So! Trapped in a dodgy part of an unfamiliar city, with nothing open but a barred-windowed petrol station, we lingered in the aisles and made as many phone calls as we could. I should mention that it’s the end of January. As we huddled for warmth by the coffee station, it began to snow. The proprietor graciously allowed us to wait for our ride inside.
One hour passes – our ride arrives. Two of us – Miss H., whose friend has rescued us, and myself, whose van we are retrieving – may go. The other eight are evicted into the cold.
Another hour passes – we get lost. We find the van. We thank our benefactor, find that the car has been parked outside a blatant drug dealer’s door, and head back to fetch our party. Miss H. and I also get lost. Twice.
We begin significantly ticking into hour three before we find our lost lambs, on a sidewalk, in at least an inch of snow. Some of them were trying to sleep. Miss H. and I, we were trying to stay awake. We collected our charges, and began the long, long, drive home.