Monday, June 14, 2010

The Road to Bonnaroo

So I was the dirtiest I've ever been in my life last night.  And I don't mean 'down and dirty'  or 'dirty dog' or 'ODB'  but like the kind of dirty you get when away from your parents for the first time and don't have someone to remind you (or force you) to bath.

To really explain this experience I have to break it into installments.  I don't have enough of an attention span to do this all in one and there were a lot of fun oddities this weekend and a lot of fodder for analysis and interpretation.  So bear with me...I'll get there.

I was camping for 4 days.  That's three nights in a tent on a queen size aero-mattress with two other girls sleeping horizontally because that was the only way we kind of fit.  We were in Manchester TN, 45 minutes from Nashville,  for Bonnaroo.  The concerts were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I'll get to those later.  To visualize Bonnaroo one only has to think of iconic woodstock images.  The atmosphere was all congenial and free-love and sharing is caring.  People were hot, high, and/or happy.  The aura presented such a stark contrast to NYC I had to find everything and everyone beautiful.  There were concerts upon concerts: Zac Brown, John Fogerty, Phoenix, Kid Cudi, LCD Soundsystem, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Miike Snow.  There were nightly silent discos and stand-up shows by Conan O'Brien and Aziz Ansari,  There were tie-dye tents and breast painting tents and bong selling tables.  

Day One

We left on Thursday about 3 hours after we were supposed to.  9 of us were packed into a compact car and a pick-up truck, courtesy of the Grahams.  About 12 miles from Manchester we hit grid-lock traffic and since A and I didn't have tickets we decided to walk the high-way and see if anyone was selling them.  (A refused to buy the $245 tickets on-line and was convinced that we could find some for 200.  After some failed Craigslist attempts we set off without tickets and decided we'd just buy them full price if we couldn't find a scalper).  

So two other of the crew didn't have tickets either and at that 12 mi mark they got out.  About 2 minutes after we got out of the car traffic sped up and our cars moved gracefully and speedily out of walking distance.   That coupled with the fact that it was approaching 100 degrees with no shade and miles of tar in front of us made us question whether we'd made the right decision.  But there were other dirty hippies walking so we rallied.  After about 3 miles an old-beat-up pick-up trucks rolls up to us.  The driver smiled widely although he was visibly missing a few teeth and told us he could take us as far as ______ Road.  He then proceeded to drive on the left side of the road for 10 minutes until a sheriff (who I suspect knew him as it was a small town) yelled.  "Man, Jimmy what are you doin'?   You cain't do that mess, man.  Get back in the line".  Remarkably he was not sorry, ticketed, or apologetic.  

Back on the Road...a few miles later....

A girl gets out of her driver's seat with two waters and says, "I saw y'all walkin' way back, you must need water real bad".  

A few more miles later....

A middle-aged woman and her daughter, clearly from this small town are riding up and down the high way on one of those 4 by 4 motorcar things.  We have water but she offers us a ride.  Traveling (illegally) on the back of her ride, all the people who saw us walking smile, laugh and exchange peace signs with us. And as the wind and the cars blow past us, the sweat on my body dries and everything seems like it'll work out.  I didn't know then that it would be 4 days before I'd shower again.  

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