I returned from my Memorial Day phishcation on Monday and have had my head in the clouds ever since. I partied nonstop for four days straight, slept in dirt, and boogied my ass off for hours on end, so I think I get a pass to walk around like a zombie.
Phish kicked off their summer tour in Bethel, New York, a beautiful venue with a very laidback vibe (also the home of the legendary Woodstock festival). Our campsite was roughly 30 minutes away, in Equinunk, Pennsylvania, and was occupied entirely by Phishheads. I felt like I was in summer camp all over again, especially while eating in the mess hall, riding the yellow school buses to and from the shows each night, and stumbling through the woods to find the bathroom cabins. Live bands played throughout the day and into the wee hours of the morning. It was money well spent.
The three nights in Bethel went by much too quickly. I didn’t want it to end and so after a brief discussion with my friend, we decided not to sell my tickets for the Tuesday night show at PNC and we made our way through the Garden State for yet another evening of twirling and dancing.
Oh, but you didn’t come to hear about Phish, did you? Okay, fine. Here are some awkward moments in lot dating:
One of the first encounters I had with a cute Phishy boy happened while on a bus to the Saturday night show. He took the seat next to me and we engaged in a very lighthearted, fun conversation. We discussed various books we’d read, shows we’d seen, upcoming shows we were excited about, and even touched on some big picture philosophical items. We made each other laugh and he told me he thought I was a cool chick. And then he dropped the “g” bomb about seven times. “My girlfriend isn’t going to the show tonight.” “My girlfriend likes that book, too.” And my personal favorite: “You should totally meet my girlfriend; you guys would really hit it off!”
One evening I left the couple I was staying in a tent with to go listen to some live music. I looked around and strategically placed myself in front of a group of four male friends. I’ve learned that this hardly matters, because while I have little game, the dudes who come to these shows have even less. I have to hand it to the shady guy with stringy hair who approached me to ask if I wanted to borrow his coat. It was a sweet gesture, even though he was high as a kite.
On another shuttle, I sat down in an empty two-seater and waited for the bus to fill. Two guys take the seats behind my friends and then the tall guy with the sweet face gets up and switches to sit next to me. Then he moves back to where he was originally sitting. I don’t know what that was all about but it was awkward. Then I saw stringy-haired guy from the night before and I tried to avoid eye contact… but it was too late. He parked his ass right next to me. I turned to face him and noticed he was sweating profusely.
“GREAT SHOW!!!” he says, giving me the weather forecast.
“Turn this up! This is Mariah Carey!”
“Uhm, I think it’s Crystal Waters or something,” I smiled turning my face to the window. I started texting my friend (“HELP!!!”) across the aisle once he began growling.
[“I’m still standing” by Elton John starts to play in the background.]
“No, it’s… forget it…”
That’s pretty much how the entire trip went.
I got off the bus and made my way over to my friends to tell them about weirdo dankster.
“Those buses are not very comfortable for a tall guy like me,” said a soft voice to my right. I glanced over, finally making eye contact with the beautiful stranger who had quickly jumped into my seat earlier and got swept away in his big brown eyes. “You’re telling me!” I laugh, clearly alluding to other reasons it wasn’t a comfortable ride. We slowly made our way back to the campsite, chatting about this and that. I reached my hand out to introduce myself. GOD! I have to do EVERYTHING around here!
“Nick,” he smiled back. “And this is Henry.”
I got the feeling Nick is insanely shy and everyone knows that when you put two shy people together, nothing happens. So he awkwardly slipped away while I slammed palm to forehead.
Last night I was having a smoke outside of the Breslin on 29th Street when a handsome gentleman holding a drum and in need of a cigarette approached me. I offered him one, we began to chat, and then he said this:
“Ever hear of Phish?”
Turns out, he went to all three nights at Bethel and was excited for the upcoming Camden show. He introduced himself, apologized for having to run, and told me he’d look for me. Awesome. I’m sure we’ll totally bump into each other in a crowd of 25,000.