Shut up and Dance!

“This time last year I never thought I would have backpacked S.E. Asia, nor be writing a blog. But that is the beauty of life. We can not project too far into the future, for there are infinite variables we have no control over. So sit back, be present for everything that occurs both good and bad, an embark on the most unique and exciting trip you’ll ever have the privilege of taking, your life.”

    This was written almost 1 year ago, and holy shit has so much changed!! When I wrote my last blog entry it was almost 2 months since I had came back to the states, and I was working at IBM at the time. Today is now May 23rd, 2017; and it blows my mind to see just how different life is. Instead of trying to fit the past year “journey” into 1 entry, I figured I would get back to doing what I love and to start posting blogs again. With that being there really is no other way to kick things off than the random day I had with a new friend and a conversation I had with Sayeed the cab driver last April.

    Saturday April 2nd of 2016 seemed like it was going to be just another normal day in a life I had so many questions about. I was still in my full leg brace from the injury i sustained in Cambodia, I had just moved in with my 2 cousins, and I had just locked down a job at IBM as a Strategic Financial Analyst which I was about to start 2 weeks from then. Little did I know I know an invitation to Cielo from my cousins friend Eric would have changed so much for me

    Eric was a kid I didn’t know all too well yet; however like I always tell everyone “when there is music playing in the room, you learn all you need to know about someone without even having to say a word.” The night before we had all went out to a dive bar in Brewster New York. I was posted up at the bar because my leg was still killing me, but I looked over and there is Eric, dancing his ass off with this 50 year old black chick.  He was having the time of his life, and I think home girl definitely thought she was getting lucky that night. The second I saw the smile on his face while listening to the music I knew that him and I were very similar.

    That next morning on barely any sleep we got into a conversation about house and techno music. I was laying on the couch icing my knee, talking about so many amazing nights out, and playing some of my favorite tracks for him to listen to. Out of nowhere a huge smile started to form on his face, and he said; “Let’s go to the city tonight!” I tried explaining to him that there was absolutely no way I would be able to make it a whole night in the city with my leg in a cast and my knee in so much pain. Truth be told I had been dying to go out, so after a tiny bit of convincing I said fuck it lets ride

    April 2nd was an awesome night of music in NY because it was the birthday celebrations of 2 of my favorite DJ’s, Hector Romero was at Cielo, and Victor Calderone was at Space Ibiza NY. Eric and I decided to take the train in early and meet up with some friends, then head on over to Cielo. Getting on to the train with my horrible limp and a bag full of Corona’s I knew it was going to be a special night. Eric and I still had not known “specifics” about each other yet, so we spent the entire train ride just drinking and talking. I had expressed to him that I still really didn’t know what the fuck I wanted to do with my life, and decided to take the offer at IBM in the meantime until things figured itself out. The second I said that, Eric’s face lit up yet again with that big smile on his face, and that is when he played for me a 6 minute speech by Steve Harvey titled “Jump” I remember listening to it thinking to myself “Wow that is one of the best words of advice I have ever heard, however I still don’t really know what my gift is.” Instead of the video motivating me it actually got me feeling a little bummed out, yet I did tell myself that if and when I ever do figure it out, I am not going to jump I’m going to swan dive! Eric and I got some drinks at a bar he used to go to a lot, and then called a cab to go meet up with some friends; and that is when we experienced Sayeed.

    Sayeed was our cab driver, but the second we got in I knew this dude was special. It took me a while to maneuver into the back of the cab with my bum knee, and the whole time he was cracking jokes and talking to himself. Eric and I are very alike, so it only took seconds for us to be in full conversation with Sayeed. Sayeed was schooling us on everything from politics, to religion, to music and friendship. Usually I hate the conversation about politics and religion, however he expressed himself in such a way that I could not help but ask him questions. In my never-ending search to find the “meaning of life” and what my “calling” is, I asked Sayeed a question that I have many wise people throughout my life “What is the meaning of life?”  That question is typically met with a long pause, followed by a redundant statement I have heard a thousand times, but not Sayeed.

    Sayeed adjusted his rear view mirror and stared at me for a few seconds (I truly believe he knew just how important this question meant to me by the hunger in my eyes).  Sayeed slowly brought the car to a complete stop, adjusted himself so that he was now facing me, and with a smile on his face said “The meaning of life?  There is no meaning, just SHUT UP AND DANCE!!!”  He turned and began to start driving, and with a gigantic smile on his face started blasting the radio.  Eric turned around and looked at me, and I had truly never been more shocked or speechless.  I started laughing hysterically and we spent the rest of the car ride laughing and dancing.  At the time I did not know what to make of his response, however I knew that by the way it made me feel it was exactly the response I was looking for. 

    Thank you Sayeed!

    The rest of the night was one of the best of my life.  With a cast on my leg I trotted around Cielo, talking to countless people and sharing the love of music.  After Hector Romero finished his set at Cielo I told Eric it was time to head to Space.  Eric had yet to be to an after hour techno party, so now this time around I had the smile on my face when I said “It’s time I introduce you to the darkness my friend.we made our way over to Space for Calderone.  

    When I walked in I saw a friend from high school Michelle that I had not seen in over 10 years, and we instantly connected. The 3 of us went on to the dance floor and spent the rest of the morning together. I will never forget around 8:15 a.m. Eric looked at me and said it was time to go. I explained to him it was my first time out in NYC in almost 4 months and to give me at least another 30 minutes. At that very moment the blinds at Space were lifted, and Calderone started to play one of my favorite tracks of all time “Robbie Rivera – Feel This.”  I turned around and looked at Eric, and even though I was in extreme pain we (along with the friends we met through out the night) all got our second (or fourth) wind.  The connections I made that night are some of the most important factors into where I am today, and I am so thankful that this precise moment was caught on tape. I remember getting goosebumps watching it the next day.  It was just one of those special moments, the moments we all hope to feel when we go out and listen to music like that.  Watch here, I am the one blue plaid shirt and backwards hat, and Eric has the grey snow cap on with the ball attached to it… Lmao!   The drive home I was completely shot; however I kept thinking back to the 4 words Sayeed said to me, and how certain I was that one day those words would make all the difference.

    Shut up and Dance