July 29, 2015

I Was Hypnotized for My Birthday

My mom, my sister, and me, pre-hypnosis, when our composure for the night was at its peak.
Except for that time in third grade when I really really wanted a guinea pig, I've never really been one to ask for something specific for my birthday. However, now that I am a grown-ass woman who can volunteer for the UN and legally drink in Delhi, I knew it was time to start saying what I want.

And what I really wanted for my 25th birthday was to be hypnotized.

Maybe it's weird, but ever since the hypnotist at my freshman orientation seven years ago made one of our star soccer players stick white bread down his pants in front of all his classmates, I knew I wasn't really living until I had experienced the same.

So when a hypnotist, Flip Orley, announced he was coming to the DC Improv (my favorite thing to do by far in DC), I knew 25 was time to get living.

The show was the only thing I thought about all week leading up to Saturday night. But when Saturday night finally arrived... well, I wasn't quite sure where the night was headed. It started out innocently enough with some mediocre burgers and an Uber ride downtown. But when we got to the show, I began rethinking my decision.

You see, my parents, sister, and Derrick all came to DC to celebrate my birthday with me. In addition to five adults sharing one bathroom, this also meant that we were officially classified as a "large" group. And as a large group, we were told that we needed to be seated at the large group table.

It just so happens that the large group table at the DC Improv is in the corner, behind a wall, to the right of the stage. It's a fine place to be if you're only there to enjoy the $5.99 nachos (I mean, nachos in a corner are still nachos). But we didn't come to the comedy club for the processed cheese; we wanted to watch the show, which was hard to do from the corner.

And by hard, I mean literally impossible.

We tried the polite route, asking to be reseated. Then we tried the independent route, and just reseated ourselves. And when they told us to get back to our large group table, we went with the "have a livid mother storm the front desk and demand the manager while her husband tells her children about the time she cussed out a Mexican police man on their honeymoon" route.

That worked.

Maybe needless to say, but by the time Flip asked for volunteers to come on the stage, we had already about finished our bottle of wine. Except I only had two glasses before I cut myself off; I knew I had to be mentally alert so I could be mentally exploited for the audience's entertainment.

Weirdly, what worried me the most when I sat down in that metal folding chair on a stage in front of 150 strangers was that maybe, despite my best efforts and birthday wishes, Flip wouldn't be able to hypnotize me. And actually, for most of the show, I sort of thought I wasn't really hypnotized. I knew what I was doing, after all, and I was doing things that made perfect sense to be doing.

Like, why wouldn't I describe my coleslaw dinner with an Alabama accent in front of 150 strangers and my fiance? And why shouldn't I shake my fist at the hypnotist for having the audacity to have his clothes inexplicably disappear? Why would any of that be embarrassing to me?

All I know is that after the show, it felt like all 150 people came up to personally tell me how amusing I was and I couldn't figure out why. It was an incredibly strange experience, and really, I'm just thankful no one gave me any white bread that night.

Anyway, cheers to 25. It's already one of the weirdest ones yet.