This is You.
Today’s your eighteenth birthday, and in the Third Ward neighborhood, there’s no better place to be than the Pythodd Club, because you had been working all week at your Grandfather’s toy store to save up a dollar or two for a ticket to the Pythodd. And your friends, who had already turned the envied age of eighteen, have been haggering you about the Pythodd Club, saying, “Hey man, you wouldn’t guess who showed up last week!” As per usual, you’d ask who and they’d say, “Leonard Bernstein!” You know they were just trying to get you jealous by raving about all the big-name jazz musicians that often circulated the club and so at this point, you wished your mother gave birth to you a year earlier.
As the evening came to a close, the line outside the Pythodd Club grew. You were waiting in line with your friends and you couldn’t help feeling all the pins and needles in your body. You had your ID card out to prove your age and you got a mint dollar bill in your pocket. You were all set, until the line stopped moving the moment you were up next. Jase, the security guy, held his hand up, “Sorry man, the Club is too crowded right now. Wait a few, yeah? We don’t want no fire marshals up here. They are too tired of us.” So you waited a few minutes. Maybe a few more.
When you finally stepped inside, it was impossible to see anything in front of you until your eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. As you held onto the edge of your friend’s shirt as a point of direction, you’d watch the clouds of cigarette smoke wafting through the air, its heaviness tickling your nose and drying your eyes. Everywhere you turned, a pair of bodies would be squeezed between wobbly chairs and tables that didn’t match. Your hands became your eyes and that was how you navigated through the crowd.
At last! Your friends found a couple of chairs near the edge of the stage, a miracle, they said. You and your friends settled down and took out a few smokes. As the music started and the stage lit up, it was as if you transcended the place. You didn’t realize where you were anymore. It was something otherworldly.