Approaching 40: Rhythm of the night

My first New Year’s Eve party was on December 31, 1984. I was in 7th grade. This was an all-night party and lots of kids from school were attending. There wasn’t anything illicit going on. No drinking or drugs that I am aware of, but everyone was euphoric. The party started in the evening and went on until the sun came up. At one point during the night, there was a scavenger hunt. Much, much later, as the sun was beginning to rise, a bunch of us found our way to one of the cement tributaries of the L.A. river.

There was a certain freedom I felt that night that I’d never felt before. After that night, I began to think of myself a “grown-up.” At some point during the night, music had been playing and people were dancing and one of the songs that came on was DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night.” That song always reminds me of that party, especially the opening of the song.

As an amusing footnote, I was supposed to go to a friend’s house on January 1. Well, I got home from the party and went through my day. I’d been up all night–another first for me–but I plodded along and came time to go to my friend’s house, off I went. But after I’d been there only a little while, I began to feel strange. I didn’t feel like myself and it was pronounced enough to call my parents and ask them to pick me up, something I would never have dreamed of doing before. They picked me up, and off home I went. The lack of sleep was producing all kinds of hallucinations and I remember sitting down to dinner (we were having chicken Parmesan) and constantly looking nervously over my shoulder. Right after dinner I went to bed and had the second best night’s sleep I can ever remember.

To this day, however, I feel bad about leaving my friend’s house. I can remember how much I looked forward to friends coming over and how disappointed I’d get if circumstances prevented them from coming. In my imagination, my friend must have been bitterly disappointed that I left his house for the silly reason of partying all night long the night before.


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