There’s a haze that covers the festival grounds. This haze doesn’t settle from the sky but rises from the ground. Stirred by the feet of 40,000 wandering, shuffling souls. Dirt so fine a golf cart rolling at 2 mph can throw up a Pigpen cloud of dust that filters through your lungs, drifts upward and disappears like water vapor, absorbed only to return to earth piggybacking on raindrops that become mud before they even hit the ground. Some new form of precipitation coming soon to a weatherman near you.
“Clean me” fingerpainted on the windshield of a ’98 Subaru with a note underneath “Why bother?”.
And heat. Mississippi Delta heat. The Ginzu knife couldn’t slice this air I’m trying to breathe heat. Most days women would kill for bigger boobs. Today is not one of those days. The only relief comes in the form of a wimp of a breeze not big enough to be shared by more than 4 or 5 people at a time. Teasing then moving along. Leaving in its wake heat and sweat so thick tattoos are running like an Al Stewart watercolor. White girls with skin perfectly-boiled Maine lobster red and perfectly-roasted Peking duck crispy.
Like a student who although unassigned always returns to the same classroom seat, I continue to use the same port-a-potty (second on the left, third row from the gyro stand). It’s the one with the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer can bobbing for dear life in a sea of yuck. As the festival-goers empty bladders the beer can makes its way to the surface only to fall each morning when the port-a potties get cleaned. Veterans know the best time to go to the bathroom is right after the septic pumpers have been to town. Toilet paper and clean seats last about as long as it takes a police dog to go on alert at a Phish show.
The people watching is as fascinating as ever and I overcook more than one order of French fries. Do you want ketchup with your neon purple fur-lined boots? Security tries valiantly to hold back swarms of desperate to get to the next show young’uns. Bred somewhere between Barney Fife and an over-zealous campus security weekend extra they feel a need to protect people from errant golf carts making their way to the stage with very important cargo. “You’ll cross this road when I say you’ll cross it. Thanks for understanding.” The septic pumpers seem to get the right of way and I’m ok with that rule.
Best tee shirt so far? A tie between a guy with a really big head wearing a shirt with his own face on it and “You’re grammar suck’s”. Hey I think Jesus is buying a burrito. Jesus or Frank Zappa. Then I realize those 2 are dead and it’s probably a guy named Jack who works during the week at the co-op selling beans in bulk. Magic beans that will turn your eyes inside out and turn your girlfriend into a beanstalk.
Most of the people are very nice and it is fun to talk with folks and find out a little about anyone willing to share. The genuine ones make our day as vendors a little more bearable. Here are some folks I got a chance to talk with for awhile. I told them I was going to post their picture so “Hi guys!”
My Best Customers So Far
It’s interesting and everyone knows the odds of never seeing these people again are pretty good but it is fun to get to know people this way. Sort of like speed-dating without any consequences.
The music for the most part is god-awful. We used to get the same sound when we failed to properly connect our stereo speakers. I sincerely believe if you can play one really low bass note over and over and over and over again you can be a band. Actually you only have to play the note once and then sit back and let your computer take over. This can’t be what our parents heard when Elvis and Chubby sent them scurrying to their bomb shelters. That was music. With lyrics that dripped with meaning. Sha bittly boo wah wah wah!
For a break yesterday I got to go to the store to pick up replacement supplies. 120 bags of ice. Can I ride in back on the way home? We went to a store named BJ’s. Really. Who names their store BJ’s? How many times have kids had to ask their father why he snickers every time he goes in the place? And I swear I’m not making it up when I say the first thing I saw when we went in the store was a mechandising display of kneepads. Okay I’m making that up.
So we drag home to hot showers and screened windows with fans and get ready for Gathering of the Vibes. Where I do believe, me and the music will get along nicely thank you very much.
Love you all. Peace. Peter