At least twice a year, someone invite us, me, my wife and daughters, to a family party, of some sort. Maybe it’s a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah or birthday party. Yesterday, we had a bat mitzvah in New York City and it was pretty much an all-day affair.
The ceremony was set for 10 am. That meant we had to get up at 7 am, and be out of the house and on the road by 8 am. The temple was on 77th street and the party was at a club on 21st street. We had to figure out the logistics, to spend the least amount of money and not waste any time.
We decided to take the Long Island Expressway to the Mid-town Tunnel, which exits at 36th street. We then proceeded to the parking garage on 21st street, which was just down the block from the nightclub. We got on the number 6 subway, heading uptown to 77th street and the temple. We made it with plenty of time to spare, walking in at 9:30 am or so.
The actual ceremony was two hours long, because there were three thirteen year olds having the ceremony. Besides our cousin Melanie, Eva and Jeff were also having their bat or bar mitzvah. They get to lead the congregation in prayer, read from the Torah and explain what their reading means to them.
Marcy's cousins, Debbie and Sandy, Melanie's parents, had arranged for three buses to take all the guests down to the club, Motivo on 21st street. Except for a couple of tight turns, we made it down without incident.
As soon as we got to the club, the first thing that hit us was the loud music. Ok, loud to us "old folks," I guess. Probably, it was just the right volume to what seemed hundreds of kids. Ok, not hundreds, it just seemed that way by the number of them that seemed to bump into me and get in my way as they scrambled to hit the lone table that had food on it: the little slices of pizza didn't have a chance that was the first thing they grabbed.
My theory on loud music is simple. The ears of children or teens are not as abused as have been mine, for many years, listening to music using large headphones. That’s from my radio days. Even now, using ear buds, I don't turn the volume up all that much.
Those young ears yearn for loud music, that’s sensory stimulation, and the DJ and emcee are happy to oblige them. Many of us adults even tried to escape to the upper level, but the speakers were on even up there. Had it been on lower level or not at all, I think the adults would have been very happy.
It's at these events that we get to see friends and family we haven't seen since the last party. The loud music makes it very difficult to talk and understand what the other person is saying. A lot of nodding tends to happen.
My girls had a good time being with all their cousins. Marcy is the social butterfly, talking to anyone and everyone that she hadn't seen for a while.
As for me, I'll walk around, chat and nod. I’ll have something to eat or drink and smile a great deal. I nod while I eat, too.
Although the car ride in only took us 45 minutes, the ride home was two hours. Marcy and I were so tired that we went to sleep at 9 pm. Just another sign we're getting old.
We have another party in upstate New York. That one is in June. It’s a three-day gathering. We leave on Friday and come back on Sunday.
Wish me luck.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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