In some circles of Southern Ca, people identify the month of April with a little 3-syllable word that rhymes with nothing that I can think of: Coachella (when pronouncing, drop the a, and don't think of the double l as a Spanish -ll-; this, by the way, is one of the reasons that I have issues with pronunciation here in Southern CA - some names and words show off their Spanish origin and others are Native American). So, anyway, Co-che-la!
Before moving to this area, I had no idea that this sex, drug, music, coolness fest in the desert existed. But, from March until the end of April or so, it's one of those buzz words that permeates the Los Angeles 'cultural' scene so I am now all too familiar with the word and the concepts that swirl around the event, despite my complete first-hand ignorance of the festival. The familiarity that I have unwillingly developed is mainly thanks to local radio stations that plug the groups playing and, unfortunately, due to the fact that there is a mass exodus of my students whose parents call them in "sick", "family visit", "college visit" while I know full-well that they are soaking in the Coachella coolness (and doing who knows whatever else).
While there are some groups that would totally interest me, the idea of a weekend in the desert with thousands of other people holds zero appeal. So, I'll sacrifice my hipster-ness and embrace the fact that I have LONG since crossed the I'm-too-old-to-go-to-a-music-festival threshold. Don't get me wrong, if someone gave me free tickets, an awesome place to stay, and assurance that I wouldn't have to deal with any of the crowds, then sure I'd go see the Black Keyes or the Shins or Snoop Dog or Feed Me (yeah, the last one - maybe a DJ?). Since that is not happening, there is no way that I'm going with a dozen of my closest friends who then invite a dozen of their closest friends. Then we all stay in a small condo and spend the entire weekend drinking, smoking, hanging out, not showering, and generally being cool.
Sounds awesome, I know!
While I'm not about to list a bazillion things, I will say that I am so happy that I'm able to spend my "Coachella" weekends in other ways. For instance:
- Eating good Mexican food (last weekend AND tonight) and not scrounging around for food
- Catching up with old friends (and remembering what we all discussed)
- Sweating for a few hours in the am on the bicycle rather than sweating while being packed in a space with a bunch of people
- Sleeping in a comfortable bed and not on the floor
- Sharing a room only with a significant other and two dogs (so, not listening to anyone else snore, except for Gus)
- Not having to decide what my 'wardrobe' will be as I deal with extreme weather (crazy freak winter storm last weekend and heat this weekend; okay, last weekend, I had my own wardrobe crisis for the duathlon, but we worked it out)
- Unwinding from the week with post-run basil gimlet, an easy dinner and a somewhat disappointing movie ("The Descendants" which reminded me a bit of a Lifetime movie; definitely NOT reminiscent of the dark bite of "Election" or "Sideways")
- Afternoon naps in the comfort of my own home because of a long bike ride, not because I'm actually passed out.
- Going to sleep by 9:00 pm or earlier and waking up refreshed!
Obviously I am old, but there are some really wonderful aspects to the "I'm too old to be cool anymore" philosophy, and one is that I don't have to go music festivals anymore. Not that I was ever an avid music-fest attendee, but I do remember being an anxious 20-something and feeling that I *should* enjoy these sorts of activities, goddamnit! There are plenty of other activities in which I no longer have to participate or fein interest, now that I'm past any possible age of coolness, but the musical festival might be at the top of the list!
The irony of all of this is that in exactly two weeks I will be heading to Wildflower which is, in a sense, a bit of a crazy festival that mixes music with extreme athleticism (for some people). Yes, it is the "Woodstock of triathlons". I will, however, unleash my inner 60-year-old who is not a hippie, enjoying dinner out in Paso Robles on Saturday night, as I go to bed early, sleep in a somewhat comfortable motel bed, and then, if all goes as planned, do this swim, bike, run thing on Sunday.
Definitely more fun than Coachella.