Everyone loves a good basement party now and again. Until you realize that a basement party is basically the scene of a horror movie. Think about it: you walk through winding, dark, narrow hallways to get to a steep, structurally unsound stairwell with no handrail. Then you have to walk through a number of rooms with low ceilings, mysterious pipes, and exposed electrical wiring. Finally you arrive in that dark, musty room filled with people you don’t know and can hardly see. If you were watching yourself take this journey on a TV screen, eerie music would be playing and you would be screaming at yourself, “Don’t go in the room, you’re going to die, turn around you stupid idiot!” But no—you just keep walking…all in the name of fun.
When you’re in the party, first of all, you are going to drink beer from a keg of questionably cleanliness (because someone was probably doing keg stands before you arrived and that nozzle is full of their stranger goobies). And you have to pay for a cup that has been tied to someone’s pocket or your friends are drunk and cheap enough to use one that has been abandoned on the floor.
Speaking of the floor, it’s normally covered in a film of solid filth. It is a healthy mixture of beer, sweat, mystery fluid, and drippings from the pipes and condensation from the walls. If you drop something you just have to say goodbye because it will never be the same. If it’s your phone that falls on the floor, you are SOL. You better have prepped a baggie of rice because your battery is now soaked. The floor being in this terrifying state is also incredibly inconvenient. You can’t put your purse or your coat on the floor without destroying it so you have to get crafty. Maybe find a nice hole in the wall, or a washing machine, or maybe a secret cupboard, but hopefully someone in your group stays sober enough to find it.
The exposed pipes in basements are probably the most unnerving part of basement parties. They drip a mixture of sweat, water and who-knows-what on your head and in your drink. The ceilings are normally really low and I watch people hit their heads on them and try and grab them for support when they they’ve had a little bit too much. I’m waiting for one of those pipes to break and it’ll be like the scene from the titanic. The basement quickly filling with water or–I shudder to think, sewage–and a mad rush up the stairs. But you don’t think of this when you’re drunk. Nope, those pipes definitely look stable enough to hang on to.
Basement parties also have to take place in the oldest looking houses in Madison. The crumbly walls are probably filled with asbestos. I’m surprised the entrance hasn’t collapsed, trapping the partygoers like a group of miners. Except for miners were earning their livelihood and trying to support their families while we are all down there in the name of overpriced, lukewarm beer and a few laughs. When you do escape safely, you leave covered in somebody else’s sweat and looking like a bus hit you.
And yet we still do it again the next week.