Flash Mobs Bring Presence and Joy

It seems like flash mobs are all the rage lately.

A couple of Saturdays ago I took my chocolate Labrador on a walk on Irving Street and saw a bunch of people dressed in Santa costumes.  This wasn’t particularly strange, seeing that it’s December and I do live in San Francisco, where it’s common for people to dress up and be silly on a regular basis.  But, I had heard rumors of something called SantaCon earlier that day and I was curious to know more.

My dog Emma was fond of a girl dressed in a Santa outfit with a short skirt and charged between her legs.  Thankfully she was also fond of Labradors (or just tipsy, I am not sure) and we had a good laugh.

She described their attendance at SantaCon, but it was not at all like the mental picture I had of thousands of Santas sitting in trade show booths at the San Francisco Convention Center.  The SantaCon incorporates part of the Flash Mob phenomena: a term used to describe a large group gathering in open public space for a short period of time performing a dance routine or entertaining the public in some way.

She explained tweets on Twitter were sent out with various times and locations for the group to meet and mob bars, restaurants and parks in San Francisco.  Later I discovered SantaCon isn’t unique to SF – it’s going on throughout the month of December at 179 locations in 24 countries around the world!

What fun, I thought, I would love to be a part of a flash mob. There’s something exciting about shocking and pleasantly surprising the general public.  My affirmation manifested a week later when I was invited to flash mob a theater and sing a holiday tune with 40 other members of the San Francisco Choral Society.

It was on.

Quietly, we blended into the lobby and aisles during intermission at the popular play A Christmas Carol at the downtown American Conservatory Theater.  Our conductor slyly gave us hand signals from the mezzanine and 3 minutes before the second act was to start at once we all broke into a beautiful 4-part a cappella song Carols Around.

As I looked around, at first the crowd gasped in shock, but then their faces broke into warm smiles.  Families and couples held hands.  We were making them happy, which in turn was making me happy.  The crowd thundered applause and we walked out, never to be seen again.

My favorite thing about flash mobs is when a public group is caught by surprise they are instantly pulled into the present moment.  Spontaneous synergy is created and later, people feel special that they were witness to something so unique and unexpected. It creates joy, wonderful memories and positive vibes.

Yup, this was my first participation in a flash mob but it certainly won’t be the last.

However, chances are slim that you’ll be seeing me in a Santa outfit.