coachella 1 - getting there (in which I get advice and lolz from friends)

I can't remember the last time I struggled so much with starting a post. Type, erase, space down, save that bit for later maybe? No, fuck it, start over: type, erase... It's like trying to gift wrap a dancing elephant. It's essential that I get all the important parts covered: the trunk and tusks, the ears and tail, but the bastard is huge and crazy and won't sit still long enough for me to even size him up - and I'm not sure I have enough wrapping paper to do the job, anyway. So expect a big, wrinkly mess with tape sticking out all over the place. I'll do the best I can, but it won't be my prettiest packaging.

EDIT: I'm going to serialize this, and it might end up being in some inconsistently-sized chunks. I've spent the last few days in an absolute funk, the come down after the fest/drugas was brutal, and my place is a disaster. So I've just written this first part to get something down before it starts fading from memory, and now I need to spend some time cleaning and unpacking, catching up on emails, IG, etc. Plus tonight I'm going to Booka Shade in Hollywood with a new friend from Coachella. :) (details to come)

Thanks to everyone who's reached out to say hi both during and after my trip; it's taking me ages to shake off the dust and catch up with everyone and everything - hope to be on top of things soon! - e


I'm already beside myself by the time I get to Palm Springs, from which I still have another thirty minutes of driving. The ride out has been nearly four hours of stop and go festival traffic: cars and vans and small RVs loaded with kids in shorts, telltale wristbands, and not much else. Legs on dashboards, tanned arms tapping window frames, sunglassed smiles sizing one other up across lane dividers. For my part, I've switched from an electronic stream on SoundCloud to blasting Of Monsters and Men. 

I am so, so ready.

A. texts me as I'm about to pull off the freeway.

- I take it all back: I don't know how much of that to take. I took some a little while ago and it's mixed. Maybe try taking 1/3 of what I gave you, waiting an hour, and then going from there.

He's talking about the handful of dried mushrooms that are sitting in a small baggy on the hotel room desk, atop a laminated room service menu. I picked the shrooms up from him at his apartment the Friday prior, where he carefully portioned them out into what he imagined would be three solid trips (going by my body weight and his own familiarity with the drug, which is substantial). 

Then we had sex in his bathtub, after which he made me chicken parmesan, from scratch, for dinner.

Don't look at me like that. No, there wasn't a post. I was busy packing and studying, and my god, how many sex-with-ex posts can I write, anyway?  They're starting to give the impression that I don't know what I'm doing with my life. (lolsob)

- I took about double what I told you to, but then again my cheeks are now starting to tingle. :)

- LOL So should I take two caps and two stems?

- Were you laughing out loud so much that you couldn't type the words out? 

- Stop, I'm driving. 

...Yeah, try that. Are you headed down to Coachella? I hope you have an amazing and safe and fun time.

- Thank you, George!*  ...Let me know how the shrooms are.

- They're painty. 

He sends a pic of a massive painting on his floor. Cartoonish, bright, playful, weird. Definitely mushroom-inspired. 

- Yay painty!

My hotel is way beyond what I expect, because I haven't really paid much attention to where I'm staying. By the time I booked it, my choices were very few, and I don't care what it looks like as long as I have a roof over my head at night and a place to shower in the morning. Well, it has that and then some. In fact, it's pretty impressive, at least compared to what I've been used to in the post-divorce years, which makes me feel substantially better about the arm and leg I've forfeited to afford it. I have a room over the pool - a really nice room, in fact. And the staff is incredibly friendly. 

I unpack while I text with Wally, who's late night channel surfing.

- I wish you were here. Palatial hotel, massive two bed room over a waterfall pool with tiki torches, and enough drugs to make Pablo Escobar blush.

- Where are you? Coachella? Thought that was all tents and such. ...You had me at drugs. 

- I'm not camping. You don't have to camp. There's tons of hotels.

He sends me a picture he's taken of the cable guide channel: a title and a description. The American Bible Challenge. 11-12 am. A game show in which teams answer questions about the Bible. (Game Show, 60 mins.)

- What do they win? A cruise on an ark?

- A single box of Rice-A-Roni, but Jesus will make it last a whole year. ...It's so sad. The nuns are playing to support some nuns without any retirement.

- Doesn't exactly recommend God as an employer.

- Actually, since they're brides of Christ, I think it's less about the lousy boss and more a matter of marrying badly. Next game: guess the biblical tweeter.

As curious as I am about biblical tweetage, I tell Wally I need to finish getting ready for tomorrow and crash. I skit nervously about the room, arranging and rearranging what I've brought. Clothing, toiletries, snacks, my own blanket, sheet, and pillow. Scissors, tape, rubber bands, and baggies. 

I text A. again.  

- Hey, what was the verdict on the mushrooms? 

He replies by way of another painting. It's...intense.

- Whoa. That's amazing. It's so different for you.

- I'm very stoned.

- I see that.  ...Can you give me a lil guidance on the shrooms? I don't want to overdo it or underdo it. 

He replies with two more photographs of two different paintings. Vivid color, abstract human form, oversized and aggressive. 

- A? Focus. Did you do anything other than the shrooms?

- Stick with what I said last time. Take two caps and two stems to start. My texts are sending super late because of reception.

He calls me and we chat for a few minutes. He's high, but lucid. He's leaving for New York the next day, for his neice's naming ceremony. He wishes he could come to Coachella instead. He's going to get off the phone now, because he misses me and he's going to get sappy.

After we hang up, he sends one more text.

- I hope you have the best weekend ever. :)

It takes me hours to fall asleep, exhausted as I am. The anticipation is a stronger drug than anything I've brought from LA.