A Night of Mystery

*Submitted to The Lions’ Log anonymously*

I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not a party person. As much as I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise or as much as alcohol has made me do wild, wild things I have never been and will never be a “partier.” I mostly conform to the nerdy type of person who loves, and I mean loves, going to Staples and bookstores. 

This time, I wanted a change. I just turned eighteen a couple of months ago and had never been to a bar or nightclub. I then figured, “Why not? Maybe I should try.” So I convinced someone I knew to go and then, at the ticket sale: I choked. But that is not the end of this story. 

My partner finally convinced me that going would not be too bad, so I gave in, and bought tickets. Me, the “stay-at-home and watch silly movies” person bought tickets to an SLCSA party. To be fair, I had heard good things about the SLCSA parties before. I also knew my partner was coming with me. Therefore, I was not too worried about safety and I was just looking for a good time. 

I spent a week anticipating that party. The last time I had gone to a proper event was my after-prom which, well, let’s just say that was memorable and not in a good way. When the second ticket sale came, I walked up to the counter, asked for tickets, and bought them. Over the next two days, I flirted with the idea of not going at all. I had all the reasons in the world not to go. The next day, at 8:30 AM, I would have a midterm and then a quiz. Why not stay home and get a good night of sleep? 

However, the extrovert in me spoke. Maybe if I missed this I would regret it? Most of the people I knew at school were going. Some people wanted me to go. So I made my choice.

Something you should know about me is that I tend to make excuses to skip stuff. Birthday party for an unloved family member? Oh, I have a very important exam I need to study for. Funeral? You know what, I didn’t even know the guy, why bother? At the beginning of the year, I told myself I would consistently go to sports practice twice a week. Which meant going before the party. Overall, it was an easy practice, but the week had been long so even the warm-up was brutal. So, when I tell you I tried to have fun and be there, I did. 

When it was over at 8:30 PM, I had to rally all my energy left to go to the party. I had just enough time to take a shower and fix myself up before I jumped in the car and we were off to the Dagobert for “A Night of Mystery” as was advertised. 

When we got there it was cold. I was glad there was almost no line so we could get to warmth fast. I walked in, they checked my ID, then checked my ticket and gave me a “Tup.” As such, if I had a drink, it would be almost impossible for someone to spike it. First red flag no? All I could think was, “What world do I live in?” where I have to put a plastic pellicule on my glass to prevent some person from drugging and raping me, wow. As that thought was running through my head, I made the conscious choice not to drink that night. It could still be fun, alcohol did not define if I could let loose or not. Looking back today, I could say I was very, very wrong. 

We get up to the coat check and wait about twenty minutes for our coats to be taken. Frankly, I thought that was an absurd amount of time. The next morning I learned some people waited as long as an hour which, truly, shocked me. As the Dagobert is supposed to be doing this almost every night now, I would have thought they would have gotten their act together halfway through winter. 

When the person at the coat check finally takes my money and my coat, my partner and I move to the upstairs area. The sounds, the loud, loud banging sounds I had heard from downstairs now took my mind over completely. I was disoriented. The music was loud, the lights were bright, and the people were close. I remember thinking, “There is no way in the world any of these people are actually enjoying themselves.” I looked around and surprisingly enough people were dancing; not yet drinking heavily and having fun. But the lights were too much. I was getting dizzy so my partner and I headed upstairs where it was a little quieter and we could look at the crowd.

We stayed up there for a while. Not drinking, not dancing, just gazing. Gazing at this sea of young adults just rubbing against each other, song after song. Then, it hit me. It was like my brain suddenly saw them. Hahaha, that was dramatic eh? I bet you’re thinking I saw my ex or something. No, it was worse. I saw the phones.

Every single person in the crowd had either taken a picture or been in a picture. A lot of “partiers” were on Snapchat sending their pics to their friends or just posting them on Instagram stories. You know, it is highly important that your friends or followers know that you are partying on a Thursday night. The girls and boys show off their outfits and their masks. But they aren’t showing them off to anyone in the room. They’re showing them to the web. 

As I was gazing at the people there — most of whom felt like their presence would not be valued if it wasn’t shared with their followers — I could not stop thinking how fake they were. How fake we are. 

Yeah ok, I’m ready for everyone to call me a hypocrite because I have an Instagram page and I post pictures of my friends and me. You know what? I am a hypocrite because I like posting pictures and getting people’s approval of my life. Or, at least, getting their take on what they believe my life to be. Because most of the time I don’t post when I’m crying over a chemistry test on social media. Most people follow me and have no idea who I am or what I stand for. 

As the room fills, we decide to leave. I had seen enough. Contrary to what I initially thought, none of this was fun sober. Being drunk was almost a prerequisite.

We move downstairs and we almost can’t get out. The security guard on the stairs looks at me and yells: “WHERE ARE YOU GOING???” I responded quite offended that I was getting the hell out of there and he let me go, but not before I saw the metal detector. They were searching people for something: “Probably weapons,” I thought. Again big, big red flag no?

We finally get fully downstairs and it is mayhem. Any organization the SLCSA previously had went straight out the window the moment the party truly started. No one was checking tickets. The table that had been previously used by them was in the middle of the way keeping people from getting through. Getting out was a nightmare. I had to push through the thick crowd before I emerged. It then occurred to me that I had gotten out at the right time because NO ONE was checking tickets. Anybody could get in. This innocent school party had turned into a full-blown stranger fest. 

I wasn’t surprised when I heard the next morning that some girls were drugged. Yeah, I thought that was horrible. I do hope that the person who may have done that gets what is coming for them. But it wasn’t a shock. 

The pressure of being there, not missing out, had taken over so many people’s minds that innocent bystanders had gotten hurt, despite the SLCSA’s efforts to prevent such events from transpiring. 

And while people were drinking, dancing, and yelling they were also posting. Posting a night that could have or may have ended horribly for someone. 

Well, you’re waiting for me to get to the point. I mean this text is pretty long. Here’s my point: Most of the people who went to this party were not really there. Well you know physically they were but they were also there for the pics and the stories. 

Far for me to say that social media is bad, this text is not about that. This text is about being here. What kind of society will we have in twenty or thirty years if most of our young lives — when our minds are fresh and ready to work —  are spent poisoning ourselves so that people would think we’re “cool.” Oh, I’m sorry, I know cool kids don’t use the word cool anymore, but I’m not very fluent in stupid. 

You know, every day I see people posting stories about saving Ukraine, the homeless, or the environment, insert here any other cause someone has posted about. But after 24 tiny hours those posts or stories are erased and so is the activism in every one of us. 

No one stands up for anything. Well ok, you do stand up for it. I mean you share it with your followers that’s enough, right?

Well, I don’t think so. No one calls out our hypocritical governments for the completely contradicting policies they put in place. Instead, we spend our Thursday nights partying, for the sake of being young. Because we won’t be able to do it later so we better enjoy it now, right? Before responsibilities set in and we have to fend for ourselves in this messed up world? We should probably collectively forget what we are getting ourselves into, right?

I don’t believe that our generation will be saving anything after seeing the way people behaved that night. And you might call me a pessimist, but it seems we will live like every other generation did and we will die like they did: without making a mark. Well maybe you made a digital mark with your 700 followers and bikini pics, but that’s it. That is our legacy.

Wake up, wake up gen Z! No matter your political beliefs or affiliations we have the possibility to be one of the smartest generations. With the use of the internet and the acquired knowledge that our ancestors have worked on for years maybe we can make a difference. Maybe we can make a better world for the ones that come after us. Maybe someday everyone will get to be themselves and share what they want without the fear of judgment.

This change starts today, it starts with being present. Turn off your phone when you’re with your friends. Stop running from reality with alcohol and social media and face it instead. As we used to say in 2013, you only live once, and the way we’re going we’re not going to live at all. Being human is about purpose and I can assure you: your purpose is not to get drunk in the Dagobert Nightclub on a Thursday night.

By Lions' log

You May Also Like