Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jam Cellar

Yesterday, I did something crazy. Again.

About 5 weeks ago, Jeffy, Corina, and I decided one Tuesday that we should go dancing at the Jam Cellar. We drove 4.5 hours from Pittsburgh to Washington DC, arriving around 9PM, just in time for the dance. After dancing and having a good time for 2.5 hours, we stayed the night at Alan's house, and drove back to Pittsburgh early on Wednesday morning.

There's something a little bit scary to realize that you're one of "those people" who will drive more than 8 hours to go dancing for less than 3 hours. What's even scarier is to hear that the "rockstars" at the Jam Cellar, who dance (semi-)professionally think that you're crazy.

On the other hand, there's something immensely satisfying to realize that you're one of "those other people" who do really crazy, irrational things every once in a while. Unless you are clinically dead, these crazy things should fill you with a prickly excitement that reassures you that you're not letting your life just slip away in dull monotone. Even better, afterwards, you have a story to tell your friends, family, your children, your grandchildren, and anybody else who will listen. And you have a better story than the people who do other crazy things, like climbing Mount Everest. Because you did something that anybody can do --- something completely ordinary --- and made it extraordinary by circumstance, which means that everybody can (at least partly) relate.

Which brings me back to my story. 5 weeks ago, we thought the Jam Cellar was "OK," but a dance has to be darned better than "OK" to justify over 8 hours of driving. I thought I had made that trip for the last time. Recently, Jason and Nicole have been rumbling about going down themselves, and they convinced me to come along. Stupidity in its essence, I thought. But you only live once, so...

Jason got to my house to pick me up. As we pulled away, his car was making an odd thumping noise, and it turned out that he just got a flat tire. I offered, against all my better instincts, to drive my car down. The reason? How can you beat a story that starts out by getting a flat tire?

So we transfered everything to my car, and we began the drive. Nicole taught us the back way to the highway, which involves driving through Swisshelm Park pockets of Pittsburgh never before seen by human eyes. We made good time, and in about 4 hours, we're in DC, and we stopped for a bite to eat at a little diner.

At that moment, I realized that DC is some third-world boonie country in backwater America, because all the Starbucks apparently close at 8PM, and I can't get a decent cup of coffee. Even in Pittsburgh, the coffee shops are open until 11PM or midnight. Thankfully, I got some oatmeal and some coffee at the diner, enabling me to survive the cold, dark DC wilderness.

At the dance, I quickly became quite glad we came again, for several reasons. First, the Jam Cellar crew remembered me from the last trip, which reassured me that I had a good story. Second, the dance was much more lively and had more energy than it did the last time. Finally, many friends from Columbus, California, Austin, and Carlisle were visiting, and the people from DC were also great to see again.

After the dance, with a lovely little dance buzz, we drove back to Pittsburgh. Nicole slept while Jason and I kibitzed about dancing, evolution, rabies, and who knows what else. We got in around 4:30AM, rounding the trip out to a 12 hour excursion. It was so worth it.

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