My life in the mob.

by Joey Rodman

I’ve always wanted to be part of a flash mob.  “Always” meaning since the first time I saw a video of one on the internet.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the phrase “flash mob” could sound more than a little intimidating.  And in fact, they can be. Here is a video of the mob that first caught my attention (CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW VIDEO):


I saw the video two years ago.  And subsequently, for two years (which apparently translates into “always” in my brain) I have wanted to be part of a flash mob.

I had no idea how to go about becoming part of one.   I’ve never really sought out the opportunity.  “Did anyone do something like that here in Oklahoma?” I wondered.  Of course not.  My self-talk always hit a brick wall and I’d move on to other more tangible thoughts.

On Wednesday morning of last week I opened the browser on my computer completely unsuspecting…and then it happened.  Someone had invited me to be in a flash mob. I clicked the link to the Facebook event not really knowing what to expect.  Very few details were on the page.  The invitation provided the day and time, and that was all.

Did I want to RSVP? Yes.  Could I?  Should I?  These questions were harder to answer.  I didn’t know where to begin. I began to go through “the checklist;” it’s a little bit like momma autopilot – you can’t really even think about committing to anything without going through the checklist first.

Calendar? Clear.
Babysitter? Confirmed.
Would I get arrested? Probably not.
If I get arrested, will the other moms stop talking to me? Maybe.

Well, close enough. I clicked the little button and now I was “attending” as far as Facebook was concerned. I was the seventh person to RSVP and once I did, more details showed up. They wanted 150 people. I couldn’t decide if this was good or not.   That’s a LOT of people and a little more than intimidating.  I calmed myself by thinking “Well, I’m only number seven.  Maybe they won’t get enough to participate.” But by the end of the day they had nearly one hundred people signed up.  The flash mob was going to happen.

On Saturday morning I found out where I was going but still didn’t know what I was doing. For someone who is a planner down to the bone, this was getting uncomfortable. I recruited my husband to go with me. Surely he would keep me out of trouble, although the thought entered my mind that if we get arrested together nobody will be around to bail me out. I start to wonder if Kelly would be a good person to call from jail.   Maybe I could blame this whole ordeal on the blog.

“I wanted to write you a good story…for The Red Dirt Chronicles,” I would start, and wait to gauge the tension of the pause after my soft start-up.

Maybe blaming this on her wasn’t the best approach. I decided that she would definitely be the one to call from jail, however, and I began making what little plans I could.

Saturday night I got the info on “the where, when, and what.”  We were going to be at the State Fair…all 150 or so of us, and we were going to fall asleep. I felt like a secret agent. Under my shirt I had the “reveal” shirt they had distributed to us.   Our instructions were to fall asleep for 5 minutes, wake up, then take off our top shirts revealing that we were all in the same group.  Sounded simple.

I got to the fair, grabbed my special t-shirt and jostled around in the porta-potty trying to put it on – taking great precautions not to allow MY shirt OR my purse touch ANYTHING. This is way easier said than done.  You’ve been in a porta-potty, right?

Once I exited the stinky, stinky porta-potty, we walked around for a while when it hit me:  Falling asleep…how to you stay asleep for 5 minutes on the midway?! What was I going to do? Five minutes started to sound like a long time…but maybe it was worth it.  Maybe.

I got to the pre-appointed place and sat on the curb talking to my husband.  I looked around trying to figure out who else was going to do it. I knew that once I was asleep I couldn’t watch anything, and since everyone had their own shirt on over their “secret” shirt…everyone looked normal.

I was part of a group, but not part of a group.

I noticed a few people I had seen while I was receiving my shirt from the coordinator.  I covertly nodded in their direction…and they nodded back. I was beginning to feel more at ease; at least I wasn’t the only one doing it. Then I started feeling something else.  The alarm on my cell phone was buzzing -it was time to sleep.

I leaned over onto my husband’s shoulders and we slept. I dared not peek, but I could hear the reactions of those around me.

“What is going on here?”

“Is she dead?”

“Oh, there’s a HUNDRED OF THEM!”

“Don’t eat the fried twinkies!!!”…

and, “I wonder what would happen if I tazed one.”

Trying not to react I began focusing on my leg, waiting for it to buzz.  Waiting.   Waiting.  A kid walked up to me – I could feel a human being beside us, but I didn’t look.  A kid voice said, “Mom, I think she’s sleeping.” And then the second step happened; my alarm went off again. It was time to wake up. I sat up, rubbed my eyes and revealed my blue shirt.  I looked around.  There were a LOT of blue shirts.  I felt like part of something important…and silly.  Mostly silly.

Suddenly I was an instant celebrity.  Okay, maybe not so much.   Lots of people came up to me (read 3 or 4) and asked what happened.   One woman said she began to panic until she realized a lot of people were sleeping and then she was just confused.

The cops showed up, the cameras came out, and the people around us laughed a little. That was the end.   All this over 5 minutes of confusion and a few funny comments. The whole process was fun, and then it was over.

For now.

If you want to be in a flash mob, email me. I know about one next month.  We won’t, however, be sleeping this time.