This is the fifteenth installment of Reggae on the River, 2016, a swashbuckling account that will seize your attention and leave you hanging onto the edge of your seat, wondering who slipped you a Mickey.
Though the content of this particularly seamy segment is as raunchy as all of the others, and has no socially redeeming value whatsoever, the reader need rest reassured that there is no end in sight. (Fortunately, I get paid by the word.)
I wear my emotions on my sleeve, here at Reggae on the River, 2016, which makes me somewhat vulnerable when all I wear are tankers. Our feelings are what distinguish us from critters, that ability to shed tears, whether of sadness or joy.
My passion for the music, my unbridled joy at having acquired the tools to be able to attend this iconic festival and my acceptance into this unique culture by everyone I encounter, have combined to create within me, an effervescence of heart and soul.
I’m seeing a competent shrink to try and temper some of that enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, in meticulously examining the logistics of the four-day event, I cannot come up with one single thing I could have done better in planning, with the possible exception of following through on the idea of a camp coffee station.
This would have simplified matters in the A of M, but then again, I may not have conceived of my plan for next year, had I not been forced to go on a daily pilgrimage, seeking the elixir of life.
I awoke on-site the first morning, Friday, after precisely four hours of sound sleep. I bounded out of my tent with vim and vigor, only to trip and fall flat on my face, when my feet got tangled up in my ‘foo. That’s what the gal behind the counter of the reggae gas station called my goofy mustache.
|The gal called it my 'foo.|
OK, whatever, I probably did not trip on my ‘foo; it may well have been the lip of the tent-door, but who wants to admit that he is that uncoordinated? And no, this was prior to my first meds of the day, thank you so much for asking, so you needn’t cast your line in that direction.
Having already conceded that waking up after a “night’s” sleep, whether that time be eight in the morning or eight in the evening, and taking a huge slug off of a bottle of tequila, is a frightening thought to me, others unquestionably would say the same thing about my wake-up bong rips.
To each his own poison, opine I. Besides, my bong rips are strictly medicinal.
Having glanced at the time, just prior to drifting off to sleep Thursday night, and noted that it was one-fifty-five, I was not surprised to find that I had slept exactly four hours when I surfaced Friday morning. That’s just the kind of guy I am.
I still had three of the ten doobsters I had rolled up for my first day’s adventures, remaining in my handy, dandy “medical marijuana” dispenser, which in a former life was an Altoids Peppermints box. Mind you, I could never have gone through seven bombers by myself, but I am always happy to share.
Actually, HappyDay Farms is always happy to share. As Casey and I made our rounds throughout the four days, we left little jars of cannabis in several venues, simply because we could. The jars were all clearly labeled with our farm’s logo, and the clean/green certification.
We left goodness for Melody in her “office,” the air-conditioned travel trailer behind the volunteer kitchen, in a vain effort to keep her stress level below the ballistic level. We deposited jars on the newly constructed redwood bar in the celebrities’ lounge, and we left samples in the Ambassador Lounge.
|The Ambassador Lounge|
It tickled my fancy when Ziggy Recado hollered out, Saturday evening, “Hey Reggae on the River, how many of you grow the ganja? Let me hear you!” Standing about twenty feet from him, up on the side stage, I let loose one of my patented, ear-piercing whistles, and he looked right at me.
“We get free weed,” he bellowed. “How’s that, Reggae on the River? Back stage, there is free weed for us! Humboldt County, you rock!”
Just part of the hospitality, Ziggi old chap…
But I did not start out Friday morning at the reggae gas station, in my pursuit of the ambrosia of the gods; no, I started out at the Hydration Station set up by the volunteer kitchen, in our very own camping site on the west side of the 101.
I had power-walked the hundred yards out to where the “checkpoint station” was situated into “Volunteer Village,” and spotted one of the volunteers appropriately decked out in orange vest and crew tee-shirt.
Approaching him, I began with “The top o’ the morning to you! I trust you’ve had a very pleasant and yet most enjoyable day thus far!” and before he had time to recover, I hit him up with, “I am on a pilgrimage, my fine friend, in search of morning bliss, in the form of the Holy Grail filled to overflowing with morning maniac magic.”
Nonplussed, I reloaded and fired another salvo across the bow of his barge. “Where can I get some coffee?”
Ah, that worked. He pointed back in the direction from which I had just come, and motioned me to accompany him. I wondered vaguely why he seemed so quiet, but I was not in any frame of mind to argue, not with the antidote to my fuzzy mind within easy grasp.
“Are you having a good Reggae? I’m Mark, btw, what’s your name?” As a noun, having a good reggae simply meant having a good time at the reggae music festival.
I realized immediately by the expression on his face, that I had once again overwhelmed him. Two questions was one too many, but when he responded to the second question first with, “Ian,” I gained much better grasp of the situation.
His face registered the effort it required to summon up the answer, and the way he drew out the single word, Ian, it was more like “Eeee-annn.”
As Annie might have quipped, Ian was one of hers.
His pace was measured, and I walked circles around him as we made our way directly back towards our campsite. This might have confused him, but it turned out I was simply doing laps in my head.
“Where are you from, Ian?” I lobbed an easy serve at him.
“Wis-con-sin,” he responded, surprising me.
|Not hot chocolate...|
“What brings you out here?” I continued, figuring, why not?
He turned partially to the side, glancing at me as if to ask if I was pulling his leg.
“Reggae on the River.”
Despite my awkward attempts to make conversation, this is actually pretty cool, I thought to myself. This guy is functioning in a capacity that is probably way over his head, judging by his measured pace in everything he does, and yet he’s fulfilling this job more than competently.
I wish I could say the same for me.
I was like the guy in the George Carlin skit, who is trying to get the coffee pot in the backroom fired up. “Where’s the plug? Is it plugged in? Someone check the plug-gotta be plugged in…We need to get this road on the show-what’s the delay? Do we need water? Filters? A pipe wrench? C’mon, let’s go! We’ve got people to see and places to go. Is it plugged in?”
I tried to keep a tight rein on my eagerness. Ahead in the early morning light, I could see the oasis itself, a small group of jagged-around-the-edges homies huddled around it, hovering uncertainly.
This did not bode well for the mission.
The inhabitants watched Ian and I approach the table, they watched me fumble for a cup (there were plenty of cups), they watched me thrust said cup beneath the spigot of the mammoth jug and they watched the black substance pour out into my cup, all without saying a word.
I needn’t have worried about scalding the hand holding the cup because the coffee was stone cold.
Not having the heart to share this information with Ian, I toasted the heavens with it and pretended to take a bodacious swig, while already shifting the dial to full-speed-ahead, leaving Ian to make his own way back up to the entrance.
My next stop was the gas station, but ultimately I was willing to walk to Garberville, nine miles away, to get the desired concoction.
It’s not that I am addicted to coffee; it’s more of an obsession.
Tomorrow: How can we be two places at once, when we’re not anywhere at all?