This is the ninth chapter in the sordid saga of my experiences at Reggae on the River, 2016. Reeling under the influence of music, cannabis and the good vibe, I have staggered back to the home base, to spew my scattered thoughts out across the screen. Here are the unfortunate results.
"Let's Go with the Blond"
"Let's Go with the Blond"
“Happy Reggae!” we hear everywhere.
“Happy Reggae, right back at you!” I inevitably respond.
The words ring out through the air incessantly here at ROTR, 2016, no matter where you go. Casey and I were standing towards the side and back of the bowl, taking in the music and contemplating the universe, on Thursday night, the first day of the four day festival, when the subject of parched throats came up.
“I’m thinking about getting a cider,” Casey said. “Want one?”
I had not had a drop of alcohol at ROTR, 2015, and that had worked out well for me, so I decided to stick with the program.
Less than a minute later he was back. “I don’t have my I.D. I left it back in the truck. I guess I’ll pass.”
“Hey, no hay problema,” I came back. “No problem, I can get you your drink.”
Hell, yes. For once I can do something for Casey, instead of the reverse. Poor guy. “Did you draw the short straw?” I wanted to ask him. “Your turn to babysit the old man?”
I high-tailed it over to the drink-ticket line, having been directed there by Himself, and took up residence. When I got to the front, the gal asked how many tickets I wanted.
Instead of buying just the one drink, I sprang for three, figuring that he wasn’t going to go solo.
The gal took my twenty dollar bill, and handed me back two dollars in change, so the drinks were six dollars each. She meticulously explained the process, newly implemented this year, designed to cut down on trash.
When a customer went to buy his or her first beverage, he had to pony up for both the drink, and the metal cup into which it was poured. So your first drink was going to set you back twelve dollars, even if that was all you were going to consume.
Twelve bucks? For one drink?
Unfair? Stupid? At first glance it might seem so, but the intent was to cut down on trash. By eliminating plastic cups, and replacing them with an ROTR souvenir metal cup, complete with illustration and the event written on the side, it was a great success.
How did we know it was a success? Because as we looked around the bowl later on, there was virtually no trash. Because the plastic cups were not being strewn about, paper trash was also missing in action. It was such the ingenious solution-or at least the foundation for the solution.
Now, I heard the words the gal spoke. They were good words, vibrant words, even exciting words. She was smiling, she was effervescent, and she was sincere. The words sounded so convincing, and so doable. I understood every single word, English being the operative language, and I happen to have earned a Masters in said language.
It’s one of the perks of having a mood spectrum disorder: I cannot efficiently process information when it comes at me orally.
I listened to the gal carefully; nay, I hung on every word. I nodded at appropriate intervals and I was an avid participant in the exchange-at least as far as external appearances go.
Mentally, I was in la-la land. It occurred to me at one point in time, that the earnest young woman, so animated, was actually trying to convey a specific message to me.
Maybe it was of significance, maybe it was’t. More likely yes than no. It is of little import in the big picture. The net result is that I approached the booze line clutching my three tickets, and proceeded to order the designated beverage.
“Do you have a cup?” the vendor asked, obviously a formality since I was empty-handed.
“Not so’s you could notice,” I replied amiably. “Guess you’re going to have to hook me up.”
As eye rolls go, his was “Hall of Fame” material.
He said simply, and s l o w l y, “It will cost you one drink ticket for the cup and one drink ticket for your drink.” For emphasis, he then concluded to the former language arts teacher, “That will be a total of two tickets. One for the cup and one for the drink.”
I got it.
“I need a cup.”
Whew. Glad that’s over with.
“You want regular, or do you want the blond ale?” the barkeep inquired, which threw me for a loop. I didn’t know there was more than one.
“What’s the dealio?” I asked.
”Well, the blond has a stronger hops influence. Do you like hops?”
Damn, since I’m not the one drinking it, how am I supposed to know the answer? Wait a sec. Hops?
“Sure, I like hops. Let’s go with the blond.”
Triumphantly I carted the foamy beverage back to Casey and placed it carefully in front of him, along with the third ticket. During my departure, Lito and Robin had joined Casey, and I greeted them.
Casey glanced at the drink dubiously, looked hurriedly away, and then took another quick peak, obviously confused.
“What’s with the foam?” he asked.
I had the facts right at my fingertips. “Ah, glad you asked. He wanted to know whether or not I liked the blond or not. Since I didn’t know which one I preferred, I told him sure, why not? Give me the blond.”
“Blond?” Casey looked blankly at me. Clearly there was a failure to communicate.
Lito had perked up at the exchange, and reached across to pick up the cup so that he could get a taste.
“This isn’t cider,” he declared. “It’s brew.”
“What? Are you kidding?” I asked, somewhat unnecessarily.
What was going on here?
“That’s OK,” Lito said, "I was ready for a beer."
“But that doesn’t explain what’s going on,” I persisted.
Casey headed off in the direction of the drink line, with the third drink ticket clutched in his hand, saying over his shoulder, “Doesn’t matter. I’ll be right back.”
WTF? What’s going on? I specifically walked over to that counter, and I ordered,,,what? A cider? After all, that’s what Casey wanted.
I ran the dialogue back through my mind, on the VCR that runs 24/7 in my little pea-brain, until I got to part where I ordered…an ale. It hit me like a joint laced with oil.
“Alzheimer’s Alert!” I blurted out, embarrassed as ack, but unwilling to deny the obvious. I had ordered the wrong drink without realizing it. Classic brain fart.
All I could do was laugh-out loud, uproariously-at myself. To do anything else was patently absurd. It was my bad all the way, and that was all there was to it.
I never get salty when I mess up because that’s a losing proposition, not to mention job security. All I do is try to see some humor in it all and chalk it up to old age. As I have always said, “You either get old or you die. Right now I’m enjoying the ride too much to call it quits.”
Tomorrow: Parking Po Po