Part II: Something plaid, something brewed, something illegal, something blue
We could tell we were in the right place the moment we got off the bus. All we had to do was follow the horde – and the haze hovering about it – into the trees.
Our merry band and our accoutrements (“accoutrements” is the fancy way of saying “crap” in case you never took French, as I also did not) had not gone but ten steps before we saw our first nearly naked hippie. It was a warm day, Saturday, and had I known pants were optional, I might have opted to leave mine off. As it was, one nearly naked was followed by two, four and several more, darting in and out from amongst the foliage. Scampering, if you will, in that special way hippies can only scamper down by the Bay, like small bunnies in tie-dye, or little deer with dreadlocks. It was fetching, really.
Just as my eyes adjusted to the darkened light, searching out shafts of sunlight filtering through the trees, we came to the end of the trail and were thrust forth into a huge open meadow. And that’s when it hit us: weed.
Yes, I said it – weed. Pot. Mary Jane. Cannibis smokitess. Call it what you want – it hit us like a bus. A 1969 Volkswagon bus, to be more precise. The kind with little curtains on the inside and shag carpeting.
We were incredulous as we walked into the field.
“This must’ve been what Woodstock was like,” D whispered to me, eyes wide.
“Yes,” I whispered back, “But I think at Woodstock, 4:20 might have been a time of day, not a constantly ongoing activity.”
We scanned the fields, looking for a place to sit down among the 750,000 other bluegrass goers. Our cooler trailed behind us, our six pack of Fat Tire clinking innocently. Like 14-year-olds at a high school party, our beer and trail mix had nothing on all the grass in this grass, and our little snacks and drinks seemed almost juvenile in their legality.
As we wove in and out of the encampments, we realized that, in addition to forgetting our gas masks (grass masks?), we had also forgotten a blanket. As the most liberal member of the tribe, and therefore the one most familiar with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, I was nominated to “scrounge something up” for us to sit on while AKB and D “guarded the location.”
“Guarding the location” is the fancy way of saying “we’re going to sit here and drink beer while you go pick through the trash” in case you never went to any concerts in high school, as I also did not.
And that is how I ended up alone in the forest at Hardly Strictly.
I bravely wandered out into the crowds to search for something to sit upon, fanning smoke away from my face and eyes as I walked. The haze was hellacious, and it stung my eyes behind my shades.
“Hey hey pretty lady,” slurred a nearly naked, swaying gently near me as I stopped near a compost pile to get my bearings. “You wanna little of my lettuce?”
“Um, no thanks,” I said. My oatmeal was wearing off, but this man was no Souper Salad. Besides, I didn’t have the time to toke it up – I was on a mission.
“Tha’s cooool,” he said, as he blew a cloud right into my face, even though I had just turned him down. “That’s juuuust fiiine.”
As I continued to hunt, I thought about stealing someone else’s blanket, briefly, but theft isn’t really my scene. Just being at Hardly Strictly seemed felonious enough, and we had only been there for ten minutes. The last thing I needed was to be caught stealing a dirty blanket in Kate Spade sunglasses and a plaid shirt, at a pot festival masquerading as a music festival, which I, Hilary (see: Kate Spade sunglasses) was attending, while masquerading as a hippie who likes bluegrass (see: plaid shirt). I, mean, I had already been caught doing a culinary dance of indecency that morning – the illicit activity had to stop somewhere.
About 20 minutes later, I finally found a clean, industrial-sized trash bag waving in the wind, and I toted back to camp like a good little hunter gatherer. Using our keen intellect, and a set of house keys, we split it open so it was wide enough for all three of us poseurs and then we promptly lay down in its plastic embrace and stared up at the sky.
“The sun is so bright,” said AKB, brilliantly. “And the way it shines through the leaves is just, so niiiiiiiice.”
“Lucy in the skyyyyyy with diiiiamonnnnds,” hummed D softly to himself.
“I’m hungry,” I said, between mouthfuls of trail mix. “Do you think the food vendors sell Cheetos? I could really go for those. Or a burrito. Yeah, definitely a burrito.”
Now I would like to go on the record as saying that I have never smoked pot, never once in my life. My mother reads this blog, along with half of Facebook apparently, and I would like to defend my own honor by saying that up until Saturday afternoon, Little Goody Too Many Pairs Of Shoes here has never ingested the wacky tobacky in any way, shape, or form. Too many margaritas? Check. A cigar or three on the roof of my sorority house? Check. But never have I gone down the road to reefer. And I think we can all believe that, especially when we stop a moment to recognize that I just used the phrase wacky tobacky. And I’m also not Ronald Reagan.
But as of Saturday afternoon, it seemed that, despite 24 years of careful planning and prevention, I had at long last, inadvertently made contact with the cabbage. Consider the evidence: I was stuck in the woods with hundreds of thousands of high hippies. I was craving Cheetos. The lyrics to “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” were actually starting to make sense. And then I sat up to see Steve Martin, playing the banjo.
Plus, I was wearing plaid.
Some things in life are hardly strictly even comprehensible.
Tomorrow = You + Me +Part III. It’ll be niiiiice, I promise. Reeeeeeal niiiiice.