That Time I Joined a Flash Mob Dance

I was trying to make plans with my friend a few weeks ago and we were comparing schedules when she casually drops in "yeah I might go to a flash mob dance that night...."

*record scratch* Excuse me? You have intel of a flash mob occurring and this is the first I'm hearing of it?

I love a good public display of ridiculousness, so I was instantly intrigued. I posted on Facebook that I was planning to attend and a friend in another state said something about wishing she could be in a flash mob, and I thought - you know what? Why wouldn't I just be in it? When life hands you a flash mob, you join.

I immediately went to work trying to convince someone else to do it with me.

I was 100% unsuccessful.

(I guess if life hands most people a flash mob, they laugh and run the other way.)

So then I was on the fence about doing it. I kept going back and forth in my mind right up until the day of, when I still wanted to go but I was starting to get nervous.

I actually like the thrill of trying something that makes me nervous. But even so, it would be much more fun if I knew someone....

Oh yeah, did I mention that I actually didn't know anyone in the group that was doing this? And that some of them had been practicing for weeks together?

I started to feel like a new kid at school about to try to find a lunch table...


Thankfully, my friend "C" calls just a couple hours before the event and says he will go with me -

but I will owe him for this.

Ok, I'm not even going to think about what I'll have to agree to attend with him in the future. I'm just going to focus on Yay! I don't have to go alone afterall!

I head out to the practice venue, which looked like this:

The group had planned 6 different "routines" that people could choose whether or not to join: a modern, a hip hop, a salsa, a swing, a line dance, and finally - a group number. I chose the line dancing. ...and started learning it on the fly.

Thankfully, everyone was really nice and we all tried to help each other learn the choreography. I dutifully learned my stomps and grapevines and felt like I knew the dance well enough to perform spontaneously in front of a public place full of strangers.

Me, surreptitiously proving to my grandchildren that I really did participate in this.

C finally arrives, and I explain the line dance steps to him. Then I inform him that we are all supposed to join the group dance as well.

He asks what that one is.

...and that's when I have to admit that it's: What Does the Fox Say. in, the most annoying song currently on the planet.

C is not having that.

Ok fair enough. We'll just stick to the line dance then. I feel confident we can still stamp our life cards with the "I did a flash mob" stamp even if we only do part of it.

C and I finish practicing our part and step to the back of the room to chat while the others are still practicing.

And then, out of nowhere, the door to the restroom next to us opens and this happens:

Ahhhhm......did anyone else just see that?

Turns out, there's an actual fox joining the last number. This just keeps getting better.

Practice finishes up and we are told to head over to the site of the flash mob, which is Union Station.

We are supposed to separate from each other and act like we are just hanging out like normal.

Here's the victim venue:

You see that authoritative looking man in the yellow vest? He'll be important later..

So C and I are fake-hanging out together at the Chopt when we finally hear the music start. We get into place and jump in for the line dancing portion, finish our moves, then casually walk back off before the next routine starts. And C says to me, "did you notice the security guard on his walkie-talkie during our dance?"

And I was like "Naw, I think he was videoing it. I think he liked it."

Yeah no. As the next routine starts, we see the fox appear on the scene, and then -

The music abruptly stops.

And a whole herd of security walk up and tell us to disperse.


It's been a long time since I've attended an event that got shut down by authorities. First Time Flash Mob: Success!

So in the end, the group didn't get to finish, but we all enjoyed it anyway. We decided to head to a nearby pub to continue to hang out and get to know each other.

And the great thing about DC is that its full of people with really interesting backgrounds and careers, who also happen to blow off steam by doing really silly things like joining flash mobs. So I started the evening spontaneously dancing in the middle of an American monument to transportation, and then seamlessly moved into discussions about civil war history and debates regarding President Correa's policies in Ecuador...

I love this city.

I ended up leaving that group to meet up with other friends who happened to be line dancing at a country venue in Virginia. And while I'm there, I hear a song come on the dance floor that sounds familiar. It turns out-

it's the line dance I had just learned for the flash mob.

I bounded out to the floor and gleefully start stomping and grapevining next to strangers again, confident that clearly- this is my destiny for tonight.

Moral of the day: when life hands you a new experience, just nod and stomp along. ...even if there's a giant fox next to you.