Last night Santa Cruz High students put on their fancy disguises and made their way in throngs to the Rittenhouse building in downtown Santa Cruz for prom. Girls wore dresses that either flowed behind them or looked as though they were just painted on, and guys got out their best rented tuxes and clip on ties for the big night.
People say prom is overrated, or it's the most important experience in high school. That it's incredibly life changing or devastatingly boring. I might have been one to agree with them, before last night. The Rittenhouse building is amazing, and while I only saw the lobby and the top floor, it was enough to get me excited. A wraparound balcony on the top provides the perfect view of Pacific Avenue, and is key to the dance because it allows for some fresh air.
The top floor was decked out with starry lanterns and spotlights, tables which were quickly pushed togerther, and a buffet line of delicious food. In the center of the room, a rectangle of cement formed by white columns, was the dance floor. While there was the first hour or so of the dance where no one dared cross center stage unless they were accompanied by their entourage, as the night went on and the DJ started to play top 40 hits it was soon packed. It's here, lost in a forest of arms and sweat and flashing dresses that bounce up and down and up again, that prom comes to life, that prom becomes not just about the after parties.
Soon the floor was crowded and inhibitions lost somewhere in the mob of hip-pumping teens. I've said it once and I'll say it again, when you look at a high school dance from the outside it's plain nasty, like a single gyrating, hip grabbing, perspiring monster. But when you're there, lost in that crowd, forgetting about how your suit is holding up, hypnotized by the deep beats of today's music- it's plain euphoria.
Perhaps this is why, when everyone started to notice the entire ground moving up and down beneath our feet, and the cracks in the cement that spidered out from us, no one stopped dancing. Lost in the music that pumped from a man with a laptop, we gladly accepted the fact that if we fall through the ground, we might as well go out dancing.
So for nearly four hours we danced as the dance floor roled, cracked, and slowly disintegrated the ironed suits and braided up hair.
Prom might not be the most important moment in high school, may not even be in the top 5, but it's definitely something I'm going to remember for a long time.