The opening scene of the 1935 Fred and Ginger movie “Top Hat” finds Fred waiting for his business manager in the quietest, snobbiest private club in London.

The slightest noise he makes produces angry stares and grimaces from the tuxedoed gentlemen who insist upon stiff decorum as they peruse their newspapers and quietly sip their brandy.

My ritzy private club is the opposite when it comes to the decibel levels around our oceanfront bar, especially on weekends when I usually go there to relax but sometimes find myself caught in currents of convention loudmouths.

I didn’t know my club catered to conferences or I might have thought twice before paying the $50,000 initiation fee to meet a tipsy delegate from Altoona

Not only is the music thumping, but guests often seem to be blowing off steam, straining to be jovial, acting out like kids after school.  You see, my club is coupled with a swanky hotel that occasionally accommodates conventioneers who are corralled in conferences before they breakout for the bevs and cut loose.

The noisiest are cliques of chicks, Samantha Bees telling each other ribald stories. And if a man they know approaches, the noise level zooms to where I have to say “That’s it!  Check please!”  Sorry, I like to hear the ocean, birds chirping, genteel members chatting considerately or maybe watching one of the TV monitors, with the volume respectfully low–not this pandemonium.

So why do some groups of people have to be so boisterous when they drink at resort bars.  Why do they have to laugh so raucously like there’s no tomorrow at each other’s inane gossipy comments?

“I almost died when I heard Harry say that?” says hefty gal, unleashing uproarious laugher!  “He did?  No shit, he said that?  I would have died.”  And I’m sitting there wishing they both had passed.

Then there’s the ultimate torture when I’m sandwiched between two couples who upon noticing one another fire up their conviviality like 21 gun salutes.

“Alice,” she screams at the top of her lungs.  “When in hell did you get down?”

“This morning. George is arriving tonight, the laggard” (loud laughter).

“Do you want me to move?” I ask the hullabaloozer to my left. “No,” she says and they resume their verbal tennis match using me as the net.

It makes me wish I had a top hat and cane like Fred.  If only I could hop up on the bar and start tap dancing, kicking over the drinks of the loudest as I sing:

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where fashion sits
Puttin’ on the ritz. 


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