a hatred of clubbing that transcends generations

[liberally adapted from reality]

The house was silent save for the flickering of some distant infomercial blasting through the two am airwaves: a direct transmission of nothingness from the autocorrected perfection of the studio right into Dad’s vacant, tired eyes.

He heard me stagger in, heels clicking away across the linoleum. Each clacking step came with the dissatisfied ache of dance floor blisters. Each clacking step betrayed my feigned innocence. Each clacking step cut through the “Three! Easy! Payments!”

“And if you buy now–!” CLACK.

“You’ll also receive–!” CLACK.

“The Blenderific–!” CLACK.

“Free. Of. Charge!” CLACK.

The clacking stopped as my heels hit the carpeted floor of the living room. Were I any other nineteen-year-old and were this perhaps any time other than 2003, I might fear a reprimand.

But no. Dad and I looked at each other, both internally equivocating who sat in the worse light: me, eyes smeared with make-up, hair stringy with sweat, blood thin with alcohol; or him, nearly fifty years old and watching an infomercial for a blender at two am on a Saturday night.

“So,” he finally spoke, “How was your night out?”

He asked honestly, as if the fluorescent glow convinced him he could not be one to judge.

“Oh,” I finally spoke, “I don’t know if this whole clubbing thing is for me.”

I answered honestly, as if suddenly remembering I had once been the only kid in my junior high to own a copy of Highway 61 Revisited.

“I just don’t think I like any of this music. I hate hip hop and dance, and whatever else it’s called. It’s just….”

The night came filtering back like a distant memory. Moments picked themselves out of the fog. But everyone else seemed to be having so much fun. The realization hit bitterly. Is something wrong with me, or were they all faking it too?

“It’s just… I had a crap time. God, I hated it. So full of fake people and fake smiles, fake… everything! Overpriced drinks, sweaty assholes!”

I peeled those horrid shoes from my feet and tossed them across the living room. For just a moment, the violence felt nice.

I ranted for a while, thinking of the dreaded club as a scene from a terrible movie: poorly lit with a horrible soundtrack.

“It was terrible, Dad. Just terrible.”

Dad’s eyes rolled back to the infomercial. I could hear the years of frustration bottled beneath the surface.

He pulled the remote from between the couch cushions as if it had been lost all night and only now he remembered where it was.

“Now you know what I went through with disco.”

With that, he changed the channel.

Author: Ashleigh Kay

I divide my time between a variety of poverty-inducing ventures: writing for fun and writing for torture; watching far too many movies and reading far too few books. I have lived previous incarnations as bookseller, bureaucrat, filmmaker, zinester, student, and wayward traveller. I studied Film at Langara after seven years at Simon Fraser entrenched in English, Archaeology and about every other Liberal Arts and social science topic you can imagine. I am very good at Trivial Pursuit. I am related to Dr. Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary, which explains my perfect spelling and penchant for black cats. I once lived in a house in the South Hill neighbourhood of Vancouver with six people, four cats, one goldfish, and a vegetable garden for a front yard. We called it The Commune. It was where I lived with my husband before he was Husband, before he was Fiance, before he was Boyfriend, back when he was just Boy Roommate. Life was a sitcom and we were the “will they/won’t they.” We did. Once we ran away to England because we like having adventures. But we didn’t like it that much, so we came home again. I have the personality of a superhero’s alter-ego. Only I don’t fight crime. At least not yet. I am currently obsessing over romantic comedies and hosting murder mystery dinner parties (online these days, of course!).

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