Things I’ll Miss About Philly pt 1. Dahlak

Dahlak Paradise is one of the first places I fell in love with in Philadelphia. My first experience there sold me on west Philadelphia and I moved to West (the best) Philly 3 months later. I remember it well, one night in October before it got too cold. Someone invited me there for a drink with their friends. I was immediately impressed by the diversity, people of all ages, colors, and types hanging out, watching the football game. A little dive-y but mostly full of character and charm. The patio is one of the best summer hangouts. After some firefighters who lived across the street bought us drinks and invited us back to their place it was a wrap. An incredibly magical evening with much speculation about the zombie apocalypse.

Since living in West Philly, I’ve had many a fun night at Dahlak, whether it was for dinner, drinks, karaoke or a business deal. I’ve gotten to know the owners and can always expect to see my neighbors and friends hanging out there.  Although it’s usually fun had by all, last week something very peculiar happened that I want to share with you, in hopes that you can learn from my experience.

A group of us went out for what we thought was Latin Dance Night. It ended up being some other kind of dance party, but it was still lots of fun. There we were having drinks, smoking hookah, and dancing the night away when a friend introduced me to what I perceived to be a shady man. His claim was that he had “the party.” Immediately I became suspicious….”what are you talking about?” I asked. You know, he gestured. He raised his eyebrows and nodded his head toward my friend. “No, I don’t know” I exclaimed and asked my friend what was going on. It was such an odd interaction, finally I was told him I wasn’t interested in whatever he was selling, and that I was going to go back to dancing. I walked away and didn’t give him much more thought until about 10 minutes later when my friend shouted that her purse had been stolen.

Dun Dun Dun!

It was that creepy ass dude that was trying to push drugs on us. Turns out everyone had a strange interaction with him and wanted to get away from him as soon as possible. Most of us ended up ignoring him, which I’m sure is part of the reason he lashed out. His energy caused people to act in ways they normally wouldn’t i.e. leaving without saying goodbye, walking away from our belongings because the hookah was mysteriously knocked over. Looking back, I am pretty disappointed in myself for not recognizing the signs sooner, I am sure I could have prevented him from snatching my friends purse. I’m the type of person that is constantly making connections through the “concidences” and boy was that night full of them, but that’s another story. I’ve been hesitant to assign meaning to events, or people because I’ve been told that it doesn’t always have to “mean” anything. Then you have events like this happen and they obviously do mean something!

How do we separate the meaning from our projections. One tip is that projections usually happen in the mind (thoughts), intuition happens in our stomachs, reflexes, or physical impulses.

Personally, I don’t believe things just happen. We are all linked, subconsciously, similar to the force in Star Wars. Although I know it’s not my fault, but I’m a little disappointed that none of us (in particular myself) were able to pick up on the clear message that this guy was a creep. Literally everyone I was with got a bad vibe from him, but no one did anything about it, why? What can we do about? Looking back, I could have chased him off, or warned all of my friends to stay away from him and keep an eye out…I suppose our innate reaction to danger is to flee. While, I don’t feel like I ran away or was afraid of the man, he did make me extremely uncomfortable. We live in a society that favors rationality as “logic” but sometimes logic doesn’t always have a clear reason at first. Most of the time the clarity comes in hindsight. But the point is, if someone, something, some place, gives you a bad feeling it’s up to us to follow our intuition. I am constantly working on achieving that clarity in the moment, and sharpening my intuition.

I say all of this to say that we do have the power to control things, and the messages are there if we are open to them. We don’t have to wait til something is wrong to address the problem. As humans we are capable of being preventative. I still haven’t interpreted the other messages from that night, but this one was very easy.

Even though my friends and I had that horrible experience, it did not change our perception of Dahlak, we were back again the next week after the James Blake concert, and to our surprise there was karaoke. The host was celebrating his birthday so there was this huge cake. We had so much fun and there was no creepy purse snatchers to be found, but of course we were much more aware of our surroundings this time around.  If you ever visit Philly, or live there and have never been, be sure to check out Dahlak, it is truly a gem and a place I will miss when I go.