Road trip chronicles (Environmentally-friendly chaos)

Here in San Francisco, good environmental sense fills the air. Everything you do must sate the ostensible aim of “helping” the environment by prolonging Earth’s life by another few eons. The earth will end eventually, but here in SF, we don’t want that blood on our hands. The environmentally friendly diligence is nothing short of exhausting and pretentious laced with layers of self-conciousness. Here at the Outside Lands Music Festival, I’ve witnessed a sort of “environmentally friendly chaos” for lack of a better name.

At the Golden Gate Park festival, the grounds are dotted with numerous trash cans labelled with various modes of pertinent recycling to its contents. Some trash cans are assigned the ostensible purpose of handling only certain types of refuse. So when I go throw out the plate that contains the barbecued stains of the pork Po’Boy, I can’t just throw it in any trash can. This trash is best described as “compost,” a decision that doesn’t come clearly and requires that you read the little descriptions posted above each trash can receptacle. Trash has never been so complicated. I accidentally threw a soiled plate in the wrong trash can yesterday. Oops! The worst aspect of this transgression is that maybe you will offend a lefty music fan so you bow your head and scurry away and hope no one saw you just make an environmentally lethal mistake that will accelerate global warming by about 5 seconds.

Environmentally friendly chaos is everywhere here in the city by the bay.

The festival planners are careful to stress that you should take public transportation or bicycles to the festival. This is green and driving a car into the park with one person is quite politically malicious. Carpool if you must.

Well, this is fantastic except that for the size of the Outside Lands event, they need bike racks like those you see in photos from China that can house hundreds and thousands of bicycles. Instead, chaos ensues because all the lefty greens drive their bike to the park and there is nowhere to park them because everyone else beat them to the punch. So we see this odd conglomeration of bikes entwined in a strange tangled masses of barbaric restraint.


And if you choose to take public transportation, be prepared to live out a strange “Taste of India” transportation experience as you will need to condense yourself into unbelievably crowded buses in order to leave Golden Gate Park. The environmental chaos is propelled by an effective ad campaign that has gotten so many concert-goers to take the bus but now they are full! You might think (or foolishly assume) the city of San Francisco might realize that the outgoing Outside Lands traffic would put a momentary burden on the public transportation system for the weekend and that they might respond by adding quite a few buses to the existing routes. Didn’t happen. Instead they have ridiculous intermediate runs which only take you up a few blocks where you still need to wait for the bus that is driving completely through the city. In other words, this is not simply a matter of hopping on the bus…this is madness, shared madness because you will be sardined into the bus with a bunch of stoned and drunk post-festival revelers. Stuck in the bus I couldn’t help but wishing I just drove to the damn park.

Environmental chaos is the way here. We are saving the planet, one Calcutta-style bus-load at a time.