Zommgggg, you guys.
(Tangential note: Sometimes I'm unclear on whether I'm more excited to experience things because I get to blog about them, or whether I blog about things to process the experience better.
Which inevitably reminds me of this super-dupes quote I read yesterday from a strategy+business interview with computer and communications industry "court jester" Esther Dyson, "The reality is, people don’t go online to give attention, but to get it. They don’t want to be part of the audience. They want to perform and to be heard, to be present."
*pensive moment that gets cut short by a sneeze*
Regardless, I am the annoying fool trying to get a cellphone picture of the seven-layer dip being served in delicate shooter glasses because its need to be photographed outweighs my hesitance in capturing it.)
Last night, as the culmination of a work conference, there was a closing celebration at the National Air & Space Museum.
Yeah, the whole museum was rented out for the entire evening. *giddy-shriek-into-a-sober-faint*
So, somehow, at some point, when I must have been possessed by the ghost of a tube top or something, I contemplated not going to this optional event. Then I realized it could be my very own version of Night at the Museum, or more like Night at the Booze-um, am I right?! Smithsonian party with an open bar! *snork snork* Just kidding. I'm classier than all that. You just might not realize it at first.
So I went. All set for recap takeoff?!
More Planes: Check.
And 3...2...1...BLAST OFF!!!
(So basically, the levels of fun were enough to launch a rocket into outer space and fuel it all the way back.)
Here were the top THREE highlights:
1. The food and beverages. This, as always, was one of my main preoccupations (Whatever! It was for cave people too. Leave me in drooling peace.)
Here's a taste of what was offered: Cherry tomato and mozzarella caprese served individually in slender tiny shooter glasses! Sliders! Cheese & cracker assortment! Beet salad with goat cheese! West Indian butternut squash curry with saffron rice! Mushroom tart "a la mode" with creme fraiche (saddest part(y) of night: One guy dropped his on the floor)! Three-cheese truffle mac & cheese in these dainty mini-mugs (which I saw one man attempting to "drink")!
Caeser salad served in little thimbles just like in an interplanetary fairytale!
It was a zoo at first just trying to get my food. I think one custom people from all over the world share is any of us would happily elbow someone in the face to get to the last veggie pot sticker.
Drinks were a choice of juices, sodas, wines, waters, or beers! (The drinks are always popular. I had one, but I forgot it outside the flight simulators, which don't allow open containers, I wonder why. More about that in a second.)
And then, at the least opportune moment (i.e., in the company of people of good breeding), I discovered the dessert table. It was near the moon rock the entire time! Mini-raspberry-chocolate-tarts, mini-lemon-tarts, mini-chocolate-mousse-parfait, and the mini-cupcakes! Oh the universality of it all!
Helicopter-shaped cookies! They had a whole assortment in fact (rockets and fighter jets too. And they were actually delicious. No fondant-cardboard taste...)! And pure milk chocolate airplane lollipops!
I tried to salvage one of each, and ended up causing irreparable damage to my fleet by the time they reached their final destination. My fighter jet lost a cockpit. My jumbo jet lost the tip of a wing (aileron included). My rocket lost a fin. And my helicopter lost its entire main rotor.
2. Riding on a flight simulator with my co-worker. She was a fighter jet pilot. I was the gunner. I think by the end of the simulation, neither of us felt like we had any control, even though the simulation was nice enough to tell us we had gotten "2 hits," whatever that meant.
We went upside down a lot, and I couldn't keep it together at all with our legs dangling above our heads.
Plus, we both had to pee really bad before we got on the ride and the safety belt applied generous pressure directly to our bladders' sweet spots the entire time.
Though I do have to say, riding in a fighter jet with a colleague, or rather, fake-riding in a fake-fighter jet with a colleague, makes for a very real bonding experience. It was the equivalent of 10,000 trust falls.
3. People cutting all sorts of rugs in front of the live music stage, which was set up in front of the Lunar Landing Module. How, dare I say, out of this world?!
When the lights got low...
I don't know what it is, but take a cover band and an open dance floor, and even the most orthodox 9-to-5 types will loosen up their ties, fluff up their shoulder pads, and start bringin' back moves from before rhythmic movement was invented.
Seeing co-workers dance is a gift with no return policy. That's all I'll say about that.
But seeing office workers who are strangers dance is a gift that needs to be visually documented. Unfortunately, most of them were shimmyin' faster than shutter speed.
At one point, I became part of some sort of dance inner circle of departmental colleagues, and was forcibly dragged into the middle in order to "show 'em what I got" (as is a savage custom in many otherwise civilized human cultures).
Luckily, my survival skills kicked in, and I just made a beeline straight for the other side of the circle. Then, when I was unceremoniously denied entrance back into the circumference, I ricocheted back toward from whence I originally came, staying true to my socially awkward pinball roots. Also, I used some of this after-school special tip: Never let 'em see you cry!
Here is a general photo of some people dancing, just to give you an idea (but turn the figurative heat up about five notches in your head):
photo courtesy of Flickr and phunkstarr
Anyway, the night in all was a pretty sweet time if you're into boldly partying where no man or woman has partied before, or whatever.
(Disclaimer: It's an expression. I realize people have partied both at the Smithsonian and in outer space before, but thanks for being sticklers.)