Sometimes I make decisions that are inexplicably contrary to every conviction I have. I have no explanation for it. I seem to subconsciously try to challenge myself on a daily basis. So when I was planning out an adventure for this summer, I must have decided to throw caution to the wind and fill it with things that will drive me nuts.
I hate hippies. Let’s just get that out there. There’s no sense in dancing around that point. When most people hear the word “Woodstock” they think of classic music, drugs, sex, and rock and roll. I think of the immense lack of public showers and the masses of unwashed armchair activists with awful dreadlocks. This is not a rational hatred. I just have a slightly horrific physical reaction to tie-dye.
Yet, in spite of all of this, I’ve decided to spend an enormous amount of money to attend the Sasquatch music festival in Washington this summer. I’m looking at four straight days of smelly hippies, their closely related hipster cousins and a complete lack of public sanitation.
This is going to be a lesson in restraint for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled to be going to Sasquatch. I get to take a week off from life, hear a good portion of my iTunes library performed live and camp in a field with friends. It’s not the experience that bothers me. I’m already planning for next year’s festival. I just have this little quirk where I don’t like people, especially in large numbers.
It’s the reason I avoid Wal-Mart, why I haven’t enjoyed going to the Alaska State Fair since I was 10 years old and partly why I seldom make it to class (along with utter laziness).
I’m not scared by the flesh eating mindless monsters when I watch zombie movies. I’m uncomfortable that they’re all standing so close together. So the thought of standing in a crowd of unwashed John Lennon lookalikes makes me want to go and live alone in the wilderness for a month to compensate.
Hippies and crowds are one thing. Those I can deal with to some extent. I’m even alright with the fact that the majority of the bands are going to sound the same. It’s really not their fault. That’s just the way that musical trends work. Every era is defined by its dominant strain of music. The 60s had Woodstock, and the 70s had disco — we have sixteen different versions of Mumford & Sons who all play the same three chords on a banjo. We do what we can with what we have.
No, the worst part of all of this, the part that makes me twitch uncontrollably, is the fact that I don’t really have a clear plan. You have to understand, I’m a planner. If I could take a calendar and plan out every day for the next year, I’d do it in a heartbeat. It’s just a
compulsive quirk that I’ve abandoned hope of trying to fix.
So the fact that all I have is a plane ticket and admission to the concert drives me insane. As of now, I’m just flying down to Washington with a guy who refers to himself as “Mastodon Jackson,” with the vague intention of purchasing a tent and somehow finding
a ride across the state. Which part of that sounds like it appeals to my master planner brain?
The truth is, I’m not exactly sure what I’ve gotten myself into.
I’d probably be much more comfortable at a music festival from the 90s, a time when people abused flannel, listened to the Gin Blossoms and had the good sense to avoid tie-dye at all costs.
But I’m choosing to look at this as a form of personal growth.
Just as Rocky had to punch a dead cow repeatedly before he was allowed to become an incomprehensible champion, I stand in a crowd of dirty hippies before I’m allowed to see my favorite bands perform.
Now if I can just get there without being abducted by a van full of hipsters or being killed by Mastodon, I’ll be just fine.
I do know one thing though: It’s going to be one hell of a summer.