Tuesday, October 30, 2012

18

I’m eighteen and it’s early summer, steamy hot, and 1974. The Eagles are scheduled to perform at the state fairgrounds, an outside concert. I tell my boyfriend *Ricky, I want to go. He wants to go, too. His parents are out of town and he decides to “borrow” their pickup camper so we can be there the night before. Ricky’s best friend *Billy wants to go.
 
I’m the only one with a real job, so I contribute gas and buy some of the food. Billy also brings food. We arrive at the fairgrounds late afternoon where I see mostly pup tents, vans and people prepared to sleep under the stars. My boyfriend is nervous about using his parent’s camper and announces that we can’t use the camper bathroom; we cannot leave any evidence that we’ve used the camper. I’m not a happy camper about this decision.
The boys and I sit inside for a couple of hours talking until they decide to use the campground restrooms. I wait for them outside and watch hundreds of people morph into a thousand people, mostly under the age of thirty. Day is turning to night. Campfires light the grounds. When the boys return, we stay outside to talk and watch our new world unfold and the camp’s dynamics change.
“I’m going to the bathroom before it gets any darker,” I say. Neither boy offers to escort me. I go alone.
I find a path to walk on until it ends then change my course. I have to weave through people who are sitting and standing who seem high and happy. Some are clothed, some are naked. My upbringing tells me not to look, but of course, I do.
I walk into a thick haze of marijuana smoke that covers me and I cough. I hold my breath and realize that the building is still too far away and lift the lower half of my smock shirt to cover my nose and mouth. Now, my stomach is exposed which invites another problem, unwanted attention.
“Come here, baby,” one guy says.
“Where you goin’?” Another reaches for me.
I feel more annoyed than scared and let my shirt fall back down. I hold my breath again until I meet a group of people dancing around a campfire chanting something. For some reason, this scene reminds me of the book Lord of the Flies. I’m holding back my laugh when a man grabs my arm and motions for me to join them. I shake my head and pull away.
Ahead, I see the restroom and follow a skinny girl with long straight hair, wearing a tank top and jeans, into the women’s side. Once inside, the girl turns around and I see she’s a dude with a beard. I walk back outside again to see if I’m in the right place. I am. As stall doors open other men, as well as women, exit. I want to look like I’m ok with it, but I’m shocked. I hurry in and out vowing not to return to the restroom until morning.
Back at the camper, we go in and lock the door. I can’t sleep much because there’s lots of loud unrelated music playing and people noise. Around 1 a.m., I hear a scream and look out every window, but see nothing. A couple of hours later, the camp roar goes silent and I sleep for a couple of hours.
The next morning, the boys and I are up early. We eat our junk food and decide to visit the restroom. Most of the time, things seem to look better in the daylight, but this time it’s only different. Bodies still litter the landscape—lying flat and still. The fires are out, but leave behind glowing and blackened embers.
We need something to do and head for the concert area to claim a seat. Hours later we join thousands of people to listen to The Eagles in concert. It was worth it.
 
*Names changed.

23 comments:

Nicole said...

This made me chuckle!

Trisha said...

That's an awesome story! Reminds me of how much I hate music festivals but still go to them anyway for the love of the music ;) Also, love that pic of you!!

Cally Jackson said...

Thanks for taking part in my blogfest. I really enjoyed reading your post. I was worried for you when you were heading to the toilets - I thought something terrible might've happened. So glad it didn't and that you enjoyed the concert!

michelle said...

That's an awesome pic of a 18-year-old Teresa!
Great anecdotes.

Tammy Theriault said...

loved reading about your eagles concert. love the eagles and the pics!!

Rachel Morgan said...

Wow, that was quite an experience! Like Cally, I was worried something horrible was going to happen to you on your way to the restroom. Glad it didn't!

Emilyann Girdner said...

What a story! Yeah, I can relate about Music festivals, I went to a weekend one in college. Yours sounded like a little scarier experience. I'm so glad it all worked out and you got to see The Eagles =)

P.S. I'm following you now. Come visit me at www.anythingimagined.blogspot.com

I'm also participating in the Blogfest!

Shannon Lawrence said...

What a fantastic (and at times, freaky) experience! Definitely one to remember.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now I know why I never did those kinds of concerts!

Stephen Tremp said...

Ah the 70s. The best music in the world and the best bands.

Linda Jackson said...

I was SO nervous for you while reading this. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

So glad you made it to the restrooms and back. I think I need to go wash my hands now.

CM said...

Nice short story. I thought something was going to happen to the camper. Glad you had a good time. You have a good memory too!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Wow. What an experience for an 18 year old. Glad you survived the 1970's!

Gail said...

I might steal a camper to see the Eagles.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. takes me back - but have to say am glad you survived ... and at least it was worth it and you saw the Eagles - how about the camper van and its ? safe return to said parents without any hint of other occupation?

Cheers Hilary

Betty Manousos said...

what a beautifully written story, teresa. really loved reading it.
awesome story! that's quite an experience! glad you survived!!

love the photos.

xx

Lynn Proctor said...

wow--this brings back lots of similar memories--i was 18 in '72---never saw the eagles though--could have easily been 3 dog night :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Wow... the early 70's sound pretty raw. I was a young kid then, so i listened to the Eagles, but would never be let out for a concert.

I was never the "camper" type. Concerts are great, but I prefer them INDOORS with facilities... LOL.

What a memorable experience though.

Arlee Bird said...

Ah, those were the days. I'm kind of glad they're done with.

Lee
A Faraway View

Munir said...

It is really nice that someone as young as you are writing. Keep up the good job. Fiction or fact, it does not matter as long as the language has class. thanks of sharing.

Judy SheldonWalker said...

So glad you made it to the restroom and back safely. How scary! It reminded me of when I lived in NY and there was a rapist hanging out in the women's bathrooms in the subways. It had us terrified!

The Frugal Shrink said...

I love this story! You have had a lot of interesting times, Mums.