I’m writing this on my deathbed as my last recorded contact with humanity. My deathbed also happens to be my normal bed, an affordable queen sized piece with respectable slate gray 300-thread count sheets on it. Slate-gray is actually not the most accurate representation of color since it is currently a Jackson Pollock canvas of sweat marks, spilled Glacier Freeze Gatorade, and several stains where I could not muster the energy to reach my mouth with my Chipotle guacamole, and instead wasted that precious $1.95 condiment on my sleeping quarters like an animal.
This past weekend I attended not one, not two, but all three days of the Lollapalooza music festival in my recently adopted city of Chicago. Although it was a fantastic experience, which I enjoyed immensely, as I lie here, a broken shell of the man I was but a few days ago, I realize there are some very strong reasons as to why I am too old for music festivals.
I recognized, like, one quarter of all the artists on the lineup.
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about most music, and although EDM is my genre of choice at these festivals, I like to get some variety throughout the day and check out all the stages. While I was drunkenly being shepherded around the park by my group of acquaintances several years my junior, I found myself having to lie about my band knowledge. I would avoid troubling questions like “What’s your favorite song of theirs?” and “What lyrics are you singing right now?” with the ease of a seasoned politician (I took swigs of my water bottle of vodka until people stopped interrogating me). Also, some girl I was dancing with asked why I had a random baby on my chest in regards to my super dope Notorious BIG, Ready to Die album cover tank top, and I had to walk away in frustration.
My body cannot handle the physical toll of festival dancing anymore.
When I was but 19 years old at my first EDM festival, I found myself (with the help of some various stimulants) dancing and jumping and “going dumb” as the kids, say from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. I woke up the next day, chugged a Gatorade, and played in the intramural championships. The idea of that is literally an impossibility to me now, and the thought gives me anxiety. I woke up on Monday morning after three days of running/dancing around all 319 acres of Grant Park feeling like I had (unsuccessfully) attempted CrossFit. My knees feel like crushed gravel after giving shoulder rides to what seems like every girl at the festival, and I’m missing six inches of skin on my knee after an admittedly spectacular hammock accident. My body does not recover like it used to.
I look like a fucking narc.
This one was hard to accept. My friend and I, as adults with good foresight but poor judgment, are usually pretty good about planning out what illicit substances we were going to take for these weekends. For some reason, most likely an unrealistic standard of maturity we set for ourselves, we dramatically lowballed how many drugs we needed. This lead to an unfortunate circumstance in which I was elected the member of the group to have to “crowd source,” as we like to call it. And that is when I realized that to kids doing drugs, I look like a narcotics officer trying to arrest them. I’d like to blame my impeccable head of hair, or the incredible mustache I grew out for this event, or even the dad bod I’ve been shaping for some time now, but the truth is, it’s my age. You will never feel older or worse in your life as you ask random kids for illegal drugs and they give you the “You think I’m stupid?” look and back away quickly. Maybe I’m too old for drugs? Whatever, that’s not the point of this.
Anyway, I’ve since accepted that this stage in my life is over, and if you’re seeing the same signs, maybe you should too. This is not to say you won’t catch me high as shit watching a Jimmy Buffett concert with my balcony level seats, or occasionally getting turnt to Waka Flocka at a Vegas club, or even ruining my already aging ear drums at a Slayer show, but no longer will I be seen in the festival scene. It’s been a great seven years, but it is time for me to move on. Or pay for VIP passes. That’s a better idea. .
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