Dance Marathon 2011: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was awesome, fun and incredible, it was painful, exhausting, and miserable; I was delirious, ecstatic and fidgety, every inch of my body was sore and I was living in a perpetual state of constant daydream, neither asleep nor awake.
Have you ever actually read (the first two pages) of Tale of Two Cities? That’s how Dickens actually does it; he makes his entire first page and a half into one long and painful paragraph/mega-sentence(IT’S THE AUSTRALIA OF SENTENCES/PARAGRAPHS) /jumble of punctuated clauses. (This is called anaphora!) (Not to mention hyperbole…) Imagine if my entire blog post consisted of four paragraphs with 120 words each, but each paragraph was just one sentence? (No, no, FIGHT THE URGE MICHAEL) Maybe another time.
Back to the “Australia of sentences/paragraphs” (It merits a closer look) So Charles Dickens is the creator of the “Australia of sentences/paragraphs”, but you could also say that Australia is the “Charles Dickens’ writing” of countries/continents. What else does this imply? Is Charles Dickens’ writing made up of former British murderers, marginalized native people, and koala bears? (possibly.) Is Australia fueled by alcohol, imagined hallucinations, and raging anti-Semitism? (probably.) (I think I might be making stuff up about Dickens. Luckily he’s not alive to press charges.)
I don’t remember any koala bears, but I’ve been wrong before.
(Secondary thought about Dickens’ grammar: Charles was constantly fighting his English teachers as a child, pushing the limits of grammar and being shoved back down. They said “Noooo, that doesn’t work”, “It can’t be done; those should be separate sentences”, “That’s not syntax, that’s horse$*!*”,etc. [Some of his teachers were more vulgar than others.] But Lil’ Charlie wouldn’t have it, he thought outside the box and couldn’t stand the teachers stifling him. So Chuck won out in the end, and now the teachers have to teach HIS grammar to their new kids. Let THEM make up terms to explain away Chuckie Dickens’ ridiculous contiguous run-on semicolon tirade) (These parentheses got a little extensive; figured I’d make them their own paragraph [Doesn’t that mean they shouldn’t even be in parentheses?]) (Maybe I should talk about Dance Marathon; goodbye for now Chaz.)
So if you don’t know what Dance Marathon is, it’s essentially a huge fundraiser for the UNC Children’s Hospital that people raise money for throughout the school year, and it culminates with this huge dance marathon. More than a thousand people stuff themselves into a couple of gymnasiums, and they refuse to sit down for 24 hours. This includes hours and hours of dancing, many performances by random bands and acapella groups, an incredible glowstick rave, a few trips outside, and a lot of exhaustion. This is the background information required to understand whatever I say after this.
I’ve never felt more confused and lonely than I did in that huge crowd of people at 8 in the morning.
The general principle agreed upon by regular dancers at Dance Marathon is that one’s mood during the marathon gravitates towards one of two extremes. You’re super excited and loopy and enjoying yourself dancing crazily, or you are tragically miserable and sore and you hate life.
The ‘hating-life’ extreme is a little more interesting to examine.
It’s weird experience, standing up for 24 hours, because you constantly have to battle your instincts. Every time you enter a different room or go somewhere else, you immediately decide you want to sit down. If you’re lucky, you catch yourself and remember that that’s not right. If you don’t catch yourself, you get viciously attacked by the hundreds of other dancers (people get rabid at 5 in the morning when they haven’t eaten since 1 and when the coffee people apparently had to go all the way to Colombia to find an open coffee shop [BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T JUST BUY BEANS IN BULK AND BREW IT THERE??])
We even danced when we were outside.
It would be especially unusual for anyone that stumbled upon us and didn’t know exactly what was going on. (People do the weirdest things to give their legs some relief.) I saw people sleeping face first on tables, attempting to crab-sit-in-place (like crab-walk but stationary), and I saw a huge number of people regularly leaning heavily on walls. Sitting on your ankles was a common practice, and I even tried posting myself on a wall (in a sitting position against the wall even though there’s nothing beneath me) and holding a nearby table to give me extra support.
This is me being creative; I combined sitting on my ankles and crab-sitting-in-place.
The most interesting part for me was near the end of the 24 hours. This is when I’m literally delirious and fidgety and stuck in a half-conscious, half-dead state. Some people are wandering around, some are watching the basketball game, some are dancing, and everyone is incapable of having a rational thought.
All in all: A traumatic and scarring experience. I’d do it again.