|This is the bar we built in two hours.|
This is the tenth serving of leftovers, from Reggae on the River, 2016. Main courses are being offered even as we speak, with the task of relaying those dishes on to you, left up to me, your resourceful and fearless correspondent. Hence, the leftovers.
Parking Po Po
Our responsibilities are simple: Do whatever Mel and Eric need to have done in their two kitchens, respectively, and get it squared away most rickety-tic. In a clear case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for, Casey got a walkie-talkie on Thursday, which though an unmistakable status symbol, comes with strings attached.
|Revelers in the crowd|
Did I say strings? More like cables, or better still, boat anchor chains.
“Go for Bull,” is all fine and dandy, because then it is Bull who has to respond. Duh. “Go for Casey” is an entirely different matter because then, well, we have to jump. Considering we are camped on the opposite side of The 101 from the festival venue, it takes a minute or two to traverse the vast plains to get back to the kitchens.
There are multiple legs to the journey and several available means of transportation, walking being the fan favorite, not so much because the crew loves to walk, but because it requires no thinking. Well, neither does hiring one of the many rickshaws that operate as taxis, these ecologically-friendly, pedaled vehicles, criss-crossing the venue incessantly.
At night the spokes of the wheels of these mini-wagons, become whirling dervishes, their spiraling motion directing the bright lights attached to them in a continuous arc of beauty. The lines of color blur and blend together to form a dizzying rainbow of allure.
Saturday morning, long about nine, Bull got the first call of the day from a salty Melody, asking him to come over because she was out of propane. Well, that’s what we get paid the big bucks for. I had gone to bed at a most reasonable time, certainly before eleven, so I had been up since about three-thirty, my quota of four hours of sleep having been surpassed.
Bull had still been up when I surfaced, but he called it macaroni around four, and crashed. Casey had surfaced when the radio call came in, and he now eased his way out of his tent, careful to keep his head rigidly positioned so as not to awake the idling chainsaw therein.
His trademark smile was roadkill, his face slightly pasty, and if you know Farmer Casey, you know that is a doubly rare combination. I think he ran into a couple of bad apples but I decided discretion was the better part of valor and said nada.
He communicated with the Bull through the wall of the tent, telling him we had been summoned, and then spent a minute or two gathering the basics into his basket, and threading his way out through our little tent village.
I reflected for a moment on a conversation that had taken place in the camp just the day before. The gist was that people sometimes tend to forget when they go into a tent, that the walls are not soundproof. I know, how does that work?
I had it in my mind to stop at the hippie gas station and get a cup of the ambrosia of the gods, but then remembered my discovery of the vendor across from Melody’s kitchen. Shockingly, lattes were available for more-than-reasonable price of five dollars.
In order to get to Mel’s kitchen, we had to cross The 101, always heavily staffed by both volunteers and the CHP. I made it a point to acknowledge po po every time I passed by, wishing them Happy Reggae, and pausing several times to make with the palaver.
On one trip we just missed the signal and had a three-minute wait for the next one. There were five officers in one spot so I approached the closest of the group, a black woman who seemed receptive to my inquiries. I asked, “So, how is this assignment for you? Is it a drag or is it different enough to make it palatable?”
She gave me a a sheepish grin and said, “Well, we all volunteered for it, so whatever happens, we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves.”
Feeling as though she were more approachable than others had been, I pressed my luck and asked, “How do the revelers respond to your presence? Do they give you a hard time?”
She pondered the question for a moment or two, as though trying to think of the best way in which to phrase her response. “Pretty good,” she said, with just a fraction more emphasis on "pretty,” than may have been necessary.
My interpretation? “The vast majority of you are great; there are just a few a-holes who spoil it by giving us lip service…”
Now Casey and I arrived at the Tosh Lot, piled into his truck, and continued our journey to Melody’s kitchen. Upon arriving we went directly to the water heater to check the propane tank. It was a little five gallon number and it was full.
We asked a clarifying question of one of the kitchen staff and she told us that Melody had been there at 6:30, and had thrown a fit because the propane canister was empty. By seven o’clock the situation had been rectified, long after Mel had left the building.
Unfortunately, no one bothered to give us a call to let us in on the secret.
Later, when Dan from the kitchen came storming into the campsite, looking for Bull, I slowed him down long enough to ask what was up.
“Mel’s all salty and she wants me to talk to Bull,” he said, suddenly somewhat mollified.
“Bull’s napping,” I said. “What’s Mel’s issue?”
“She’s all stressed out.”
No shit, Sherlock.
“Yes, that’s what you said. What’s her issue?” I repeated, but kept it at a low volume, as if to impress upon him how important it is for Bull to get his beauty sleep. If someone was going to wake him, it sure as ack was not going to be me.
By now Dan was actually back-pedaling. “She’s stressing out because she wants to make sure you guys are going to be around.”
“Dude, Casey and I jumped all over that “issue” this morning with the propane.” It was my turn to place special emphasis on a word, and I chose “issue.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. Hey, you guys are awesome.”
I wanted to say, “We are? Then why are you pulling Bull’s chain? When you mess with the Bull, we get the Horn.”
“So do you want me to go wake him up?” I thought not but waited for him to wave dismissively and stride away before I knew for sure.
“No, dude,” he said over his shoulder and just to make sure I got it, he repeated, “You guys are awesome.”
|Lounging around the campsite|
And that is as much as we had to do all day on Saturday, which contrasted with Friday, when we had been kept on the run for half of the day. At one point, after successfully orchestrating the rearrangement of vehicles just outside the “reefer” truck, Bull assigned me to play policeman and make sure no one snagged the lone remaining parking slot.
While he and Casey went back over to the other kitchen for an earth-shatteringly important mission, I guarded the parking spot, while doing my best imitation of a parking po po.
Yep, that’s me, fighter of evil-doers who ply their reprehensible skills within the boundaries of my ever-sharp vision.
By the way, you haven’t seen my glasses around anywhere, have you?
Tomorrow: The Bull Pen