I find just before dawn an electric time. As a kid, I usually experienced these dark hours en route to the airport, causing me to link them with the exciting promise of travel. Now that I’m an adult, I realize there’s another kind of magic to be felt in getting your day started while the world sleeps: smugness.
It’s in this holier-than-thou spirit that I recently decided to attend Daybreaker, a sober weekday morning dance party. I couldn’t wait to march into the office with a self-satisfied smirk, having already done The Most. To up the ante (and because none of my friends responded to my email), I opted to go alone.
This is how I find myself pressed against the wall of a sausage-restaurant-cum-dance-floor at 6:20 AM, enviously watching confident people bounce to what I can only describe as “NPR Sick Beats.” My hubris is quickly shattered by the fact I spent $30 to be haunted by the ghost of middle school dances past… and this one won’t even play Nelly.
Just as I learned to do at 12 years old, I look to snacks to soothe my discomfort. Daybreaker provides a buffet of the good shit: yogurt chicly spelled “yoghurt,” kombucha in glass bottles, and all manner of pseudo-healthy protein bars made by indie companies that will undoubtedly end up acquired by Kellogg’s.
I’m intrigued most by a display of NuttZo Organic Paleo Chocolate Power Fuel, a “7 Nut & Seed Butter.” A pile of bananas sits next to the NuttZo Power Fuel — a heaven-sent duo of labor-intensive snacking to keep me uncommitted to the dance floor.
The design of the “2Go” packet of the NuttZo Power Fuel is the nut butter equivalent of a Dr. Bronner’s bottle. I take a moment to consider it, hoping the cool kids will think I’m on a fancy diet where I need to check ingredients. The label touts a dizzying array of credentials to satisfy even the most discerning morning raver: Vegan, Paleo, Kosher, Rainforest-Certified, Non-GMO-certified, USDA organic, made with EatingEvolved chocolate, and Celtic sea salt, but not with hydrogenated or palm oils. All that for a mere 100 calories and 1 gram of sugar; if anything was going to unleash my inner footloose social butterfly, it was 0.67 ounces of this stuff.
Per the instructions, I massage the packet until my clammy hands transform the contents to a squeezable consistency. With my face set to practiced indifference (“I’d love to join you, but I’m currently eating”), I find an uninhabited corner and squirt the NuttZo Power Fuel on a piece of banana. Salaciously reminiscent of microbeads, chia seeds softly explode between my teeth with every bite, bringing an avalanche of Omega-3s to my bones, or wherever Omega-3s are supposed to go. The foremost tasting note is that of dank squash innards — must be the pumpkin seeds — this earthiness blends nicely with the sweet banana. The musky flavor of the remaining nuts and seeds clings to the roof of my mouth long after swallowing. Depending on your level of optimism, this is either highly unsettling or a serious bang for your buck.
As nutritious snacks go, it’s pretty good. But, more importantly, it’s the perfect crutch for a wallflower who can’t will her feet to do a little step-touch, step-touch.
With my body nourished and my tongue waterproofed from the waxy residue, I examine my reluctance to join the group. Why were we all awake before the sun in an empty restaurant on a Wednesday morning, anyway? Not to judge each other, but to do something new together. The superiority complex that brought me here had no place amongst this welcoming crowd.
I step away from the wall and tell myself that it’s time.
Not to dance, but to leave. I get home early enough to watch two episodes of Siesta Key before work. And that is a morning worth bragging about.