One time at band camp…

It’s Tell a Story Day!  For clarification, today is different than Tell a Lie Day. The stories you tell today, whether fact or fictitious, are solely for entertainment purposes, not to deceive or deflect blame for something stupid you did or did not do.  Today is the day to share your wisdom with an age-appropriate story from your past or your favorite fairytale, fable or short story.  Celebrate it with friends, children you like or in a lonely room talking to yourself.

I went to school in the UK for about a year and studied at the University of Plymouth. I’d never been there before, I didn’t know anyone, and there were a lot of new things I had to adjust to, culturally.  I was minimally prepped before I left with a handout from my host school.  But, since I was going to another English speaking country, I wasn’t as nervous as I would have been had I chosen the program in Spain.

On my first night out, I decided to go to a club called The Walkabout.  I thought it was an odd name.  And, at the time, I had no idea what a walkabout was.  I looked at the flyer that said fancy dress and thought it would be a fun night.  So, I put on a cute dress and left my flat ready to experience Plymouth nightlife.   After entering and exiting my cab from the wrong side of the street, I made my way inside The Walkabout.  It looked like a rave.  It was pitch black and as I entered, I followed this fluorescent tunnel to the main dance floor, where it just got darker.  If it weren’t for the fluorescent hot pink, neon green, and yellow lights flashing every second, I wouldn’t have been able to see a thing.  As my eyes adjusted, I looked around.  That’s when I first thought I was seeing things.  Fog and smoke rose in the air from machines somewhere in the corners of the venue.  And, although I knew I hadn’t taken anything, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.  As I looked around, I saw a man dressed like Peter Pan in the corner, and a sexy bunny awkwardly dancing with Superman on the dance floor.  “Is it Halloween?” I thought to myself, truly thinking it was possible they celebrated it on a different day.  It was early September, not that far off, I guessed.   I decided I needed a drink, so I made my way to the bar and the Grimm Reaper served me a whiskey sour.   My lack of accent gave me away, “Are you American?” the Grimm Reaper questioned. 

“Yes,” I replied.  

“I love America!”  I’d later learn that’s a common response, well at the time it was. 

“Why is everyone in a costume?” I asked. “Is this a theme party?”

“No, it’s fancy dress tonight.”  

Fancy? I thought to myself.  I looked at my cute LBD and suspiciously thought “fancy” must mean something else here.  With the Wicked Witch and Dorthy chatting on my right and Chewbacca on my left, I leaned over to the Grimm Reaper, “Does fancy mean costume?” Laughing, he said, “Yes, it does,” and disappeared.  He returned a few minutes later with a cape and a mask.  I thanked him, bought us shots and my LBD turned into Phantom of the Opera for the rest of the night.  Good times.