I don’t advocate taking drugs from a stranger, but I don’t really regret it. It made for a good story although I really wish I could illustrate with my body how this story goes, but I’ll settle with painting a word picture…
To say that it was just “crowded” or “hot” would surely be a gross understatement and whoever uttered it deserved to be sentenced to jail for outright lying. I stood there, under direct noon sunlight, in front of the Google Play stage waiting for The Givers to come onstage.
It was the second day of Lollapalooza 2012, which meant that my dehydration and exhaustion was compounded that day from the day before. For those of you who have never been, the first day feels like you’re a five-year-old thrown into bootcamp, forced to survive among hundreds of thousands of other people. But it’s worse, because you signed up for it. And, by God, you’re going to enjoy the fuck out of it! You didn’t pay upwards of $200 to have painful, exhausted memories. No, you came here to make a legacy.
Pressed up against the protruding backpack of the behemoth of a man in front of me (there is always that one really huge man in every concert, and he always happens to be standing in front of you), occasionally running my face into it because there are dickwads everywhere trying to push their way to the front even though they didn’t earn the right like I did, standing under the punishing sun.
To my left, another behemoth, smoking what seems to be a pipe-sized joint. To my right, the one friend out of my entire group that I would not have raged with, the one that thought anyone who enjoyed themselves committing sins were bound not to be good people.
It was only noon. There were 30 minutes left until The Givers would make their way onstage. 40, if you count the fact that all performers are divas and that they move for no one.
My friend, who had been complaining about the heat and exhaustion even before entering Lollapalooza on the first day and told me that morning that she had to take Advil for the muscle aches, stood there stoically. She preferred to suffer in silence.
I felt a nudge to my left and glanced down. The smoking behemoth was offering me a hit of his joint. My eyes slid over to my oblivious friend and I shrugged. If you don’t smoke at Lolla, you’re not alive. I took a hit, and it was like riding a—I died coughing. The joint came around one other time, and I sighed regretfully, knowing that two hits were definitely not enough to get me anywhere. Except cottonmouth.
How many more minutes until they came on? Was I supposed to make polite conversation in an attempt to bond with the offerer of ganja? Who else were we supposed to see today? Fun.? God, I can’t wait until tonight, when I see Of Monsters and Men at the House of Blues.
Then it hit me. My eyes suddenly seemed to slow to capture images around me. I smiled, relaxing, knowing that music sounds like Angels’ farts when in this state of mind; happy that I could still feel it. I needed The Givers to come onstage now. And that want abruptly turned into a consuming need.
I don’t know when I realized that I was feeling it much more than I should have, that when the effects should’ve stopped, it just kept plowing on. Tamping down my concern, I held on to sanity, knowing that once worried while high, it would become paranoia.
Looking down at my watch, I saw the time but didn’t comprehend and looked again. Ten more minutes. Oh god, I don’t know if I could hold on that long. As a precaution, I leaned down to whisper in my friend’s ear, “Hey… I don’t really feel that good.”
Bright lights everywhere. Was I thrust onto a movie set? Why was everything suddenly in sepia?
It seemed like an additional hour when I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. The effects continued marching and I was having semi out-of-body sensations that I knew, from last year, could result in fainting. One of the first thoughts that popped into my head was that my friend, who had never attended a college party, wouldn’t know how to deal.
“Let’s leave,” I told her, and caught a small line weaving out of the crowd.
I concentrated on walking, but by now, the effects were so strong that I had to think about how to walk. It was like one of those movie scenes with the protagonist tripping balls mixed with Moses walking through the desert in ‘Prince of Egypt’. Images whirled across my eyes. Really bright.
I’m doing such a good job, I thought to myself proudly, as I weaved. Sure, people were staring blatantly for no reason, but I was doing it. Holy shit, how far in were we? Where did this sea of people come from? How long have I been walking?! I blacked in and out, and abruptly decided that I couldn’t walk anymore. I spotted an empty piece of land and collapsed, gasping like I was an asthmatic having a panic attack, which wouldn’t be too far off the truth.
Unfortunately, my perspective was completely off from reality. According to my friend, I had been doing well at first, and then my concentration steadily deteriorated from shouldering straight into people without apology (she followed up with a stream of apologies for me), and then finally just shoving people aside, like I was freakin’ Mr. Incredible meets Hulk trying out for linebacker.
And me finding a patch of land to rest on? Nope. A girl put me there after I completely collapsed on her.
My poor friend didn’t know the effects of weed, so she was highly confused and probably thought that I was suddenly schizophrenic bipolar. She chose that time to remember an article she read the other day about someone who smoked synthetic weed and suddenly had an urge to nom people’s faces off and was afraid that that was to be my fate as well.
I spent the rest of the concert lying in the grass and looking through the picket fence of legs. My friend then escorted me to Chipotle for lunch. On the way, she told me that I when I saw any fast food restaurant, I would exclaim loudly an item that I really wanted to chomp on from there.
And, after ordering enough food for 20 men at Chipotle, I fell asleep in the booth with a bursting stomach and cottonmouth.