I communed with my 15-year-old self last night.
It was rather odd actually. We went out last night to The Garden, which is the gay and lesbian nightclub in Des Moines. I had never been there before - although Heidi had, by herself, on a night when the dancefloor was not open. She met the owners in true Heidi fashion and ended up getting a tour of the place. So it was little surprise when she announced that was where she wanted to spend the evening of her birthday. And I was certainly game - although I was a bit nervous as well. Would I stick out like a sore thumb? Would I be the oldest person there? The answers to both were no.
So anyway, back to this communion. It happened at quite an odd time really. The dance floor opened at 10pm - we had gotten there just before 9 and had spent the time with Caryle, Kathy, Mary and her date Jim in the front bar watching the videos that are displayed on one large screen and several smaller screens throughout the bar. It was so much fun watching videos again - it's something that just doesn't happen much unless you're actively searching for them online. Most of them were for songs I had never heard of before - but really, so much the better. And what better place to be exposed to new music than in a gay nightclub? Suffice to say, I came home that night and made a few purchases based on videos I saw.
Once the dance floor opened, I went in and inspected. It was more of a dance pit, surrounded by chairs and tables along with a bar. Along the edges were "stages" kind of a la American Bandstand (only nowhere near as kitschy) where people could also dance. I listened to some of the stuff that was being played and, sadly, did not recognize much of it. I had asked the owner earlier what kind of music gets played, fearing that it would be all hardcore trance, etc. but he characterized it as mostly top 40 remixes and house remixes of older songs. Still, as one that is not overly familiar with top 40 these days, I wondered if I'd recognize anything.
We danced to a few mindless trancey remixes that were fun, but still, it had nothing on Neo in Chicago, where every song was one I knew that we all sang along to - I mean, seriously, how often does one get to dance to "Rip Her To Shreds" while surrounded by people that appreciate it as much as you do? But as Heidi and I were sitting on the edge of the dance floor, listening to generic dance beat after generic dance beat, suddenly, I heard something familiar, calling out to me from nearly 20 years prior.
"No one looked as I walked by
Just an invitation would have been just fine."
Dear God, it was Stevie herself, beckoning me back out to the floor.
If I had told my 15-year-old self that at 35 years of age, he'd be dancing to a dance remix (officially commissioned even!) of "Stand Back" at a gay nightclub in Des Moines with his wife, he surely would have laughed in my face - well, after he got done asking what a dance remix was. But it was so surreal, so perfect, it blended my past in with my present and my future. It was as if, for that brief period of time, everything made perfect sense, as if things that had happened in my life were preparing me for that moment of union. The only thing that I would have changed is I would never have let "Stand Back" segue into the next song without hearing the "I need a little sympathy/Why don't you taaaaaaaaaaaaaake me home?" section. I was waiting for that part and it never happened.
I know, I'm probably making the random play of a song in a club into a bigger deal than it was, but I can't shake it. And while I had been comfortably loosened by liquor, I was not at that point (or at any point in the evening) drunk. So you can't chalk it up to alcohol. There were other songs played that night, including a perfect trifecta of the Freemasons' remix of Beyonce's "Green Light" followed by a remix of Rihanna's "Umbrella" and then topped off by "Hung Up" which required me to go get Heidi from the front bar and make her dance with me. But none moved me like Stevie's 20 year old song.
It was not all dancing though. There was also a drag show which featured a great Cher impersonator that I actually had the courage to go up and tip a buck to. Apparently, there's an even better one coming to The Garden in two weeks time which we plan to go see as well.
It was all for Heidi's birthday, but I got a lot out of it too. While I didn't talk to anyone outside of our party, it was great to meet Mary's friend Jim who is officially another cool straight guy. But I also learned a lot about myself - last night was LIVING, living in the now and not being afraid. It's so easy to get caught up in birth, school, work, death that you forget that there's so much to be experienced in the now. In many ways, it was being set free, if just for a bit.
I loved my first trip to The Garden. I don't think it will be my last.
(what I love most about this remix - and most of the other ones on iTunes, is how much it respects its source material. I think this is rather rare in remixing nowadays.)