A Coachella brief season in the sun

What a stinking adventure it was getting to Coachella this year.

I detailed the whole sordid drama in a post last week. Just when it looked like the hands of cruel musical fate had stepped in to slay my son’s dream of attending the notorious music fest in the Southern California desert, there came the “miraculous” rescue from his doting grandparents who would never allow their grandson to endure such crushing disappointment.

Personally, I thought it would be a good life lesson for him. Knowing that life is fond of crushing your heart and pulverizing your soul is different than actually experiencing such events.

These are the times when you harden and toughen and grow some balls. Life can suck but if you live through its constant suckiness from a young age, you will be wiser and hardier of soul. I think that’s one problem with each successive generation…it is pampered and insulated from misery a little more than the previous, so exponentially we’re creating new generations of really soft, mushy, weak-hearted kids because we do everything to prevent their suffering…and we are increasingly able to do so comfortably thanks to technology. So, my message was, I thought it would be “good” to let my son endure the wrath of disappointment. Gods knows…my heart is scarred but I think I’m a stronger man for it. But alas, the grandparents stepped in and bought a Coachella ticket from E-bay…presto, we were in. In all fairness, my son tried to talk them out of it because he felt guilty, but they wouldn’t hear of it.

This is what grandparents do; a special note to all you prospective parents. Prepare to contend with the most disruptive influence your young children will experience: your own parents!

Coachella, week 1, which spanned April 13-15, was a cloudy, cool, rainy weekend. Excellent conditions in my atypically anti-Southern California mindset. I remarked that week 2, which we were headed to, April 20-22, would be hot, with my luck. I was half-joking. Early last week I began peeking at the long-range forecasts and was pissed to discover that they predicted temperatures in the high 90s. I hate hot weather, and I hate sun. I hate, hate, hate it. As April 20 approached, the forecasts became more specific and confident. It was set to be a scorcher. The weather forecasters were predicting 100+ days throughout the weekend.

This could not be. Thursday night, we drove to the high desert about 40 miles from Indio (where the concert is technically held) and I watched the thermometer on my car’s instrument cluster slowly spell out the bad news. It was about 9:30 and the temperatures were still hovering languidly in the high 80s. Sigh.

Woke up Friday, the morning of the big day. Day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. We drove to a complex about 5 or 10 miles from the festival site to pick up the tickets. It was about 9 and it was already steaming. I dislike the sun with a passion. We picked the tickets up and drove onward, young soldier! Within minutes, we pulled into a dirt lot distinguished by a ridiculous sign that said “lot full” though nothing could have been further from the truth. We parked easily and walked about 1/2 a mile to the entrance about an hour early where a long line had formed, but luckily we still found ourselves a shady zone. We sat on the grass and watched people for an hour, which essentially spells much of the Coachella experience (and any other music festival, really). Finally, the gates were thrown open and the children and myself all rushed in like a mad stampede of cowed eager beavers.

When you first step foot in a music festival on the opening morning, it is grand. Everything is clean and fresh, even the outhouses. (By Sunday night, it’s a completely different story.)

You rush around like a child unleashed in a toy store.
You check out all the food stands where nothing is ready to eat yet because the standard musical festival crowd usually isn’t even awake.

In fact, who are all these freaks here so early?

And it’s like 100 degrees already and you plan on being here another 13 hours. Huh. Surely you are not well… You find a booth that can serve food now. A “full” pizza for like 9 bucks. Uh huh. Get used to it. You will be spending this much for food if you intend to eat the rest of the weekend. Being that I am used to fasting, I thought Saturday might be a good day to do this. Or a caloric deprived day. Day 2 saw me begin with a wedge of watermelon (only $5.00!!) which hit the spot. Later, I had a roasted corn which I coated with cheese and Tapatio sauce. This was my most ethnic moment in a very non-ethnic enclave.

There are absolutely no browns at musical festivals. Even the browns that are there are very mild representations from whence they sprung. Most blacks I saw at Coachella were either gay or hipsters. I saw no ghetto blacks. See, Coachella and all music festivals now are not split along racial lines…they are split along class lines. If you look at the racial composition, I would estimate: 65% White; 20% Asian; 8% Hispanic; 6% Black; 1% Sikh.

Seriously, I saw a couple of Sikh dudes walking around with their head garment.

I don’t know why the hell this shocked me. But yes. I saw one guy, he looked Saudi, walking in his native loose fitting cotton shirt and pants which seemed tailored for this weather. Lots of ethnic variations going on here this weekend, all of them traditional hot weather garb, obviously. There was no Finnish or Alaskan traditional dress. All the white people wore shorts. Shorts were the official clothing of the White and Asian person. Asians mimic the Whites to such a degree that if you generalize about Whites given that you are also speaking of Asians. Although, Asians tan much, much, much better than Whites. Half the Whites I saw were merely red or had that sickeningly flushed look. A lot had that strange gold tinge which is kinda gross. I like natural skin color. There were some girls prancing around, total gingers, and they looked great. They weren’t red, they were just pale and white which is greaet. Don’t fight it! Too many white people do fight it, however. They sit in the sun, they wear as little clothing as possible, some tan well, some don’t, but they all look unnatural. Asians tan well. Middle Easterners are just tan by nature. Indians are so dark the sun runs away. There are those unfortunate who seem committed to battling the sun for supremacy but only look sizzling red like a hot griddle. Only the Mexican handles the sun well!!!

I am essentially a medium-complected person. I am not one of those really dark Mexicans, but I am not pale by any stretch of the imagination.
I tan very well but even then, my skin never turns brown. It turns…a nice smoky shade of darkness. I am proud of this semi-textured run resistant shade.

I saw a Hispanic chick working one of the water carts. She was the epitome of the Hispanic tan which neither looks grossly tan or burnt, but neither red nor pale. I owe it to my Aztec and Mayan genetics…the sun is not my enemy, and in fact, might bless me more if I took advantage of it. I hate the sun. I have this aversion to the sun but I can cope with it if I stop paying attention. Heat bothers me mentally but I handle the physical element of heat very well. More genetic legacies. I came back from the trip and I was thriving. I was energetic and willing to slay dragons while my son wanted to sleep for 11 hours. I sprung out of bed refreshed. The sun rekindled my spirit and the heat merely jarred me awake.

Perhaps I will finish this one day. Probably not.

Just another spurt of creativity into the tissue paper of life.