Last night I did something that terrified me.
I am, by nature, a rule-follower. I always have been. That characteristic has served me well in the past. It’s probably kept me out of a lot of trouble that others weren’t so lucky to avoid. It would also be fair to say that this characteristic has limited me. Occasionally, don’t we all need to break the rules? There is a certain feeling that comes with rebelling. I haven’t experienced it much so when I made my 40 before 40 list, I added something that would force me out of my comfort zone – something that would require this good girl to go “bad”. I decided to crash a party.
Specifically, I decided to crash the Richland High School Class of 1989 reunion. I was in the class of ’88. It’s not that I’m a big fan of reunions – I didn’t even go to my own last year. If I haven’t talked to someone in 20 years then usually, not always, but usually it’s not a priority. But thanks to the Internet, I have a few friends who graduated in ’89. When crashing a party, isn’t it always better to crash one where you know people? It is. Trust me.
So throughout the evening there were some lessons learned. Some things I did well – others I did not. I don’t expect that crashing a party will be something that I do again but if you decide to give it a try, here are a few tips:
Go late – this was not something I did well. Aside from being a rule-follower, I am also generally punctual to a fault. The party started at 8:00. I arrived at 8:15. The crowd wasn’t big enough, the organizers weren’t slammed enough. It was impossible to sneak by. If you’re going to crash, you need to arrive when the party is in full swing. Trust me, this was my fatal error.
Know “the enemy” – Get a good look at the person (or people) who have the ability to spoil your fun. What are they wearing? What do they look like? Make sure others know this as well so they can watch your back when you occasionally relax and have fun.
Have accomplices – These are people who are in on the plan – generally good friends and usually legitimate attendees. My accomplices last night performed a broad range of duties including, trying to steal a blank nametag for me from the check-in table, gathering around to “hide” me from the event organizer, loaning me a jacket to help me become more anonymous, sneaking me out the back when it was obvious that I needed to go, and letting me know when it was safe to return. I couldn’t have done it without them – and wouldn’t have wanted to.
Don’t drink too much – Alertness is key in situations like this. Never let your guard down. Drinking too much can cause sloppy carelessness. It’s important to be at your mental best, lest you need to react quickly.
Have an escape route planned – The most helpful information I received all night was a text message from a friend who let me know that there was an elevator in the back. It would have been better to get the info before I arrived. Had I simply entered in the back and taken the elevator, I could have bypassed check-in completely and never been detected. I didn’t do sufficient research on the layout of the bar but was thankful the elevator was there when it was “time” to go.
Don’t run a tab – Nothing spoils a successful escape more than realizing you never closed out your tab – and worse, your drivers’ license is still inside. Returning to the scene of the crime is a rookie mistake that can get you in a lot of trouble.
Don’t give up – The organizer had my number and after numerous attempts on her part to get me to “check-in” and about 2 hours into the party, we saw her from across the room, headed my way. My friends gathered around and quickly escorted me out the back. Within 30 minutes, however, the party planners had left and I was able to return – only missing a small portion of the event. Persistence is important.
Don’t take yourself too seriously – The best part of the night was the escape. Seriously, after exiting through the service elevator and safely walking out onto the street, I began laughing hysterically. If I hadn’t gotten away and had been caught, what’s the worst that would have happened? They would have “made” me leave. So what? What I was doing wasn’t illegal but for just a little while, it was a lot of fun being “bad.”
So now it’s done. Number 13 has been crossed off my list – possibly never to be revisited. But for one night, I broke free of a restraint or two and did something out of character, out of the ordinary and I will never forget the feeling. What could you do that would give you the same feeling? What would it take for you to create that moment of exhilaration? What will you do that terrifies you?