For a variety of reasons, I don’t have the energy or time to write a full summary (perhaps this weekend) here is one story from Coachella I shall share since I told it to two friends over lunch today and feel like telling it again. Telling stories is a useful distraction and my grandfather was a man who loved to tell stories – of (his perceived) glories of Communist-era Poland, sneaking kielbasa across country lines, going fishing with a bottle of vodka, bread and some lard for sustenance… and man, could he make some good pickle soup. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

Coachella story:

My friends and I arrived at the festival grounds (Empire Polo Club/Field in Indio, California) late on Thursday night. Friday morning, I was up at 7:30 to hit the shower mobile and feel clean again. Shortly after returning to my tent (around 8:30 in the morning) I heard some loud talking in the not-so-distant-distance. The voice was that of a young woman – perhaps 19 or 20 years old. It was a sitcom voice; what you would think of as a “Valley Girl” voice from an 80’s movie. A voice not dissimilar from the “Oh. My. God, Becky. Look at her butt…” chick in the beginning of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” video, except a lot higher in pitch. The voice yelled:

HAPPY COACHELLA, EVERYONE!
THIS IS MY FIRST MUSIC FESTIVAL EH-VAR!
THIS IS MY FIRST COACHELLA!
I’M A COACHELLA VIRGIN!!!

Followed by about a minute of silence. Then we would all hear, yet again:

HAPPY COACHELLA, EVERYONE!
THIS IS MY FIRST MUSIC FESTIVAL EH-VAR!
THIS IS MY FIRST COACHELLA!
I’M A COACHELLA VIRGIN!!!

She was working the campground, walking up and down the rows, making sure that EVERYONE knew it was her first Coachella. I can only assume she was trying to make friends/attract attention. This was also my first Coachella and my first proper music festival, but something (common sense? pride? old age? East coast cynicism??) prevented me from engaging in this behavior.


(A shot of the campground and mountains nearby.)

After about 30 minutes, she was far enough away to stop assaulting my ears. But the next morning, around the same time, she was back. This time, a Brit (from Manchester, actually) staying in one of the tents near me replied, “Cheers, mate – you said the same thing yesterday.” (Yes, from Manchester, and yes, he did say “mate.”) The girl was all flustered and embarrassed and Mancunian Man just said, “No worries – have a great festival.”

When back on the festival grounds, I noticed a LOT of people greeting each other (these deep new-found Coachella friendships) by saying, “Happy Coachella!” I guess it was “a thing.” It didn’t catch on with me. It’s that East coast attitude, I suppose. I think we were making sure to represent Cynicism at this event and balance out the effects of all the hippies in attendance.

Case in point: we totally and completely avoided Jack Johnson.

Anytime someone mentioned that they’d come to Coachella to see him, it was understood in our group that any additional words falling from this person’s lips would be heavily discounted and their taste in other things was highly suspect and questionable.

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