Some people have the power to remember the names of all those they encounter. There are a number of folks I see quite often that leave me struggling once they are out of site.
“What the fuck is that person’s name?”
It is easy to say it is the bartender or server at this place, or his wife or her husband, or you know, (insert friend’s name here)’s friend from so and so. Why is that some choose to remember and never forget, while others can choose to forget and never remember?
What makes this odd is experience. I’ve got countless memories with men and women encountered during a single situation. This situation may have last seconds, minutes…maybe hours or days, but nonetheless, it was ONE encounter. Was the ability to stay in touch an option? Of course – especially with the social communication tools in place today. But there is something about having a memory resurface from time to time again involving you and this great one time friend(s).
The Sasquatch Music Festival was it for me this year. Not planning on going I decided to spend the weekend at home studying for the GMAT. Some friends whose names I know formulated a plan to go and my game time decision of going was made the night prior. Packing up the car, the road opened up at 6am. I headed east on 84 through the Gorge on a misty May morning. Just passing Troutdale, the enchantment that is the entrance to the Columbia River Gorge happened. I realized how much I enjoyed being alive. 4 hours and multiple CDs later I arrived to Wildhorse Campground. Here I was meeting a gentleman from Seattle who promised to have a camping pass for me in a sold out location. Sure enough the guy (I cant remember his name) met me at the gate and I was home for 48 hours.
A nice patch of green grass welcomed my car and my tent. The party was already well on its way and my arrival was welcomed with frisbees and free beers.
After setting up camp, I immediately changed from the clothes the Portland weather had warranted into some shorts and party bandana. Popping open a camp chair, a bottle of Makers and a book, my life was sublime. I listened to the same song I listen to every morning by Animal Collective, “Daily Routine,” whose opening lyric is, “Just a sec more in my bed.” I’ve never been so happy to not have slept in, sitting outside America’s greatest music festival preparing for the likes of my favorite bands with my favorite friends.
The empty campsite next to me was soon occupied by a maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee with North Carolina plates. Out came a scruffy man with wayfarers, faded 501 jeans, brown hiking boots, a short sleeved flannel, a yawn and outstretched arms. Following him came a simple sexy blonde woman with kind eyes, next came he good looking tan guy with a hidden wit I would learn to appreciate, and finally a goateed man with smart glasses and a sharp jaw line. The group set up tents, had some drinks and shared some hellos.
Shortly thereafter I was off to the festival with a belly full of bourbon, beer in hand, bandana on, bus ready to shuttle and legs ready to dance. I arrived to this yet again…
The day was shared with Broken Social Scene, Nada Surf, Edward Sharpe, The National, Mumford & Sons, Z-Trip, Patton Oswalt and of course…My Morning Jacket. Making my way around with the friends whose names I knew, I eventually wandered back to camp around 2:30 in the morning under a green moon and blinking windmill lights shining across the gorge.
Making it back to camp, I decided to take advantage of this green moon and enjoy an outdoor shower at 3am. A late night showed never felt so good.
4 Hours later….
The slamming port-o-potty doors were rude to wake me, but I guess that’s what you get when you party hard and go to music festivals. My face was puffy and my eyes swollen. The nearby bathroom was too far, but I managed to make it, proceeding with a morning dunk of the head under the cold water spicket and a scrubbing of the teeth. Popping my trunk, the cold cooler held a life saving coconut water. I tossed the can back slowly putting it away and feeling revived. As I brought my head back down to reality, the goateed man with the sharp jaw had risen, sitting on the edge of his jeep smoking a Parliament Light, shirtless, arms crossed. Looking back in my cooler there was an unopened bottle of Vodka and some orange juice. I grabbed the two and held my open arms out to offer this man a drink. Looking at his watch, he took a drag of his cigarette, held it, exhaled, and gave the tilt of the head and shrug of the shoulders that simply said, “Fuck it, why not.”
Soon thereafter, the goateed man became Michael Pratt, an unemployed lawyer, there with his kind eyes wife Meredith “Polly” who just finished up at Columbia, his law school roommate, hiking boot wearing buddy Garrett Garnos, and of course, Trevor Smith…a deep sea oil rig diver who was there just after the BP incident.
We started drinking and within the hour the full bottle was gone and absinthe was introduced to the equation.
Time 10:53 am
We had laughs and stories, all of us crying and laughing, “In Rainbows” in the background, sun shining, life good.
A plan was then developed…we were to infiltrate Shakedown Street aka District 9 aka the main Gorge Campground for what would prove to be one of life’s most memorable evenings.
To be continued…