"It used to mean something," he said, barely audible in the overt revelry of the bar exploding with people, sweat and stench.
One drunken bead-thrower noticed though, and leaned in. "What'd you say?" he screamed, overestimating the need to raise his voice in all the din and punishing the man's ear with the question.
He shrank back, and then slumped further over the bar, his hand grasping the thick glass as if his life depended on it. He hadn't been talking to the bead-thrower, a person whose gender couldn't safely be determined. Androgynous, they called the look. Some part of him appreciated the idea, but in the midst of such confusion he wished for simplicity and this person refused to deliver it.
"It used to mean something!" he yelled, because he too was drunk and feeling philosophical in his melancholy.
"What?" the bead-thrower asked, the same push of the voice in the explosive noise.
"All this-" he said, making a wide arch with his hand towards the general direction of everything. The sheer number of bodies packed so tightly inside the building made his skin moist with persperation.
It had undoubtedly surpassed maximum occupancy hours ago but remained so highly populated thanks to watered-down booze and specialty cocktails selling for cheap prices. The group was more than diverse- the young college students grinding each other to the horn-heavy music in a mad frenzy of desperation, the older tourists marveling at everything with wide eyes and furiously snapping cell phone cameras, the pup crawlers who made faces at the drinks in hand as if they were insulted by their inferiority even though they too were no less far along in the process of getting shit faced. It was all over-the-top debauchery. All pointless exertion. All blind excess.
"It used to be about reflection," he went on even though the one captive audience member he'd had was moving away from him, back into the the throbbing crowd. "It used to be about conscious prayer and identifying your wrongs for god to absolve and eating the things that you'd then give up for lent while you fasted and prayed and thought about how to live your life better," he yelled, lecturing no one in particular because no one was listening. "This isn't what this is supposed to be! This isn't right! It's not right!" he was screaming now, and flailing his arms widely and violently.
It was inevitable, really- what came next. The contents of his glass spilling onto the wrong party as he waved it through the air. That party violently fighting back with a shove that sent him flying into someone else. That someone else seeing the shover and launching a blow at him. The heightened yelling as friends of both sides rallied. The thrown punches, the heavy thuds and throws, the mosh-pit like eruption of raw physical energy as pent up emotions found permission to express themselves in unbridled, animalistic rage.
And as he was trampled and flattened by the throngs of people, as the dullness in his head began to pull back at the edges of his senses, as he felt his body losing its weak grasp on consciousness all he could do was repeat the sentiment: "This is not what it's supposed to be...".