So, last weekend was Travers. If you are the majority of the population, this means nothing to you. If you are the part of the population that was in Saratoga Springs last weekend, this means that you are still hungover.
Travers Stakes is Saratoga’s Kentucky Derby. It’s a Class One race with a $1,000,000 purse, and to this area, it’s a big motherfucking deal. 45,000 people were at the race this year, and at night the streets exploded. The Saturday of Travers is literally the biggest party night of the entire year for Saratoga Springs, and Kyle and I weren’t about to miss it.
Crazy fun. Crazy, crazy fun.
There was beer. There was loud music, and dancing, and singing at the top of my lungs. There were some very late nights and some very early mornings. There were walks home that were both much longer and much shorter than they should have been. There was a lot of beer.
It was fucking amazing.
I noticed a peculiar phenomenon, however, in all our bar hopping. It was weird. I first noticed it at our favorite bar, Putnum Den. There was a group of three people, two girls and a guy on the dance floor, and they were doing an odd group dance. One of them would bounce an imaginary ball around, pretending to hit it with their knee, their head, roll it across their arms, until finally they would make an exaggerated throw of the ball to the next person. That person would hackey the imaginary ball around for a while before passing it to the next person, and so on and so on. It looked sort of like a exercise we would have done in an acting class. Except in the middle of a bar.
And the bizarre part? I spotted this Imaginary Ball Dance being performed on three different occasions by three individual groups of people. In two different bars on two different nights. It’s like all of a sudden all the cool kids are doing the Imaginary Ball Dance. (Yes, I know that “Imaginary Ball Dance” is a stupid name for a dance. A pan of fudge to a better name.)
A large part of me wanted to laugh hysterically at their ridiculous dance. It was childish and awkward and a little epileptic. But a smaller part of me wanted to join their circle. They were so joyful in their movement, and each toss of this imaginary ball created an instant and intense connection between the tosser and the recipient. Even in the two mid-twenties guys with leather jackets and gold jewelry, the movement was beautiful as they lobbed an invisible football back and forth across a packed dance floor.
But I didn’t join their circle, because that would introduce a level of awkwardness beyond even my level of comfort.