I slept twelve of the seventy-five hours that I was at Reggae on the River, this year, but who’s counting? Obviously, I am or I wouldn’t have pointed out that 4 : 25 ratio of sleep to waking hours. That’s a bit more than two hours of sleep per twelve hours of being awake. The funny thing about it is that if you had asked me prior to the start of the excursion, how many hours of sleep I predicted I would get, I would have unhesitatingly said, “12.”
I am a predictable sort of fellow. Three nights times four hours equals twelve.
Think of it as “Sleepless in Seattle” meets “Insomnia.” I normally sleep four hours per night, give or take. While at home I most likely will nap at some point during the day, that was not going to happen at French’s Camp. I forgot to pack the living room sofa, even though I lugged in ten times more stuff than I ever needed, including grub.
|The weather at night was ideal.|
I had the usual creature comforts available to me in my tent, which means I had a cot, a sleeping bag and a pillow. The weather was as close to perfect as possible, with the temperature in the mid-fifties, and the ever-present gentle breeze coming off the Eel River.
Finally, I had the campsite to myself-our campsite that is. Otherwise, the camping area back behind the hippie gas station, housed the 3,000 or so volunteers that ran ROTR. In reality, I was sharing my space with approximately 2,980 others. Many of these folks mistook the campground at night for a screamathon.
Almost shoved up against the back of my tent, which “faced” another campsite entirely, was a super-sized ice chest, which according to one individual “had enough beer to float the Titanic.” Judging from the number of times it creaked open and thumped shut, I’d say the entire crew of the Titanic was on hand, partying like there was no tomorrow.
I understand the urge to party, and I understand that one does not come to ROTR and expect to sleep, but not everyone else does. I felt a little bad for poor Josh, or Uncle Josh, as his friends started calling him, a guy in that campsite right behind me.
“Oh, Josh! Oh, Joshhhhhhh! Oh, Joshie! Why are you trying to sleep? We didn’t come here to sleep…” It was around 3:00AM and Josh's friends were letting him know what was up because, obviously, Josh was not.
Unintelligible mumble from Josh.
“Is poor Joshie tired? Oh, Uncle Josssssshhhhhhhh… It’s time to come out and party!”
Unintelligible grunt from Josh.
“May we have your attention, please? We have a missing partier: last name, Josh; first name, Uncle. If you see this individual, please inform him that there is a party going on…” They were getting into it like a meditation.
Josh finally spoke, but not loud enough for me to hear.
“Ouch! My horse too? What did he do to you? Fine. Go ahead and sleep. Uncle.” Uncle is a term fastened onto any male who is deemed an elder.
|Be it ever so humble:|
My tent is the blue
one to the right, with
lots more behind me.
My facial hair is as white as the driven snow, so I qualify. Retiring early in our deserted campsite, I slept my four hours Thursday night, and then just lay there for the next five. I basked in the glow of a comfortable bed and the knowledge that when I got up, I could make myself a frothy, steaming latte, having brought all the necessary accouterments for this magical concoction of the gods. I had to be over in the kitchen at six, so there was no sleeping in for me.
Cacophony prevailed outside my tent, with babbling, bellowing and boisterousness right behind. I heard ear-piercing air horns going off every few minutes, quite possibly the same ones I saw the next day in the hands of a couple of middle school-aged kids. Finally, at one point, a Harley serenaded us all with the purr of its unmuffled engine, as it meandered its way through the campground, seemingly in a random manner.
My original plan was to get up, make coffee, and then listen to my music with my headphones on. I was simply too tired to rise and shine, so I lay in my comfortable bed, ignored the racket, and just rested. There are worse things in life, than to just lie in bed and reflect.
After all, I could have been Uncle Josh with a boat-load of friends harassing me.