<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Lindsay. She’s crazy … and bat shit … and I love her for it! For reals, she hitchhiked across various African countries!!! HARDCORE!!! The girl is a whackadoodle noodle, but not at all a nerd. That is where I come in handy- I’m Lindsay’s navigator on adventures. See, I show her how we get places via google maps, and she reminds me to stop tweeting and look up every once in a while. It’s a match made in nerdy/non-nerdy heaven. That being saiiiddddddd … she lives her life on the road and wants to share some of her experiences to all the nerdy folk out there that may be looking to do the same. Hit it Lindsay!!! </editorsnote>
I love music festivals. LOVE them which is why I had traveled across the country and down the coast to go to Bonnaroo in 2009. Bonnaroo is a four-day, absolutely amazingly insane music festival in the Middle of Nowhere (actually, Manchester) Tennessee. I hopped a flight across the US from California to Virginia to a bus to a train to North Carolina to meet up with an old college buddy and roadtripped from North Carolina to Tennessee. By the time we got to Tennessee, I had been in transit for over 17 hours and it was POURING rain. A torrential down pour only the southern east coast could muster… and Soto (my college bud) and I were trapped in his 2002 Camry. Not the way we were hoping to start off our four day epic adventure.
It stormed the entire first day –note, the festival camp grounds open a day before the music starts and close the day after so it’s actually six days of camping- which destroyed any tent assembling efforts and soaked what little clothes we had for the whole trip. However, due to sheer determination (and a thirty minute break from the rain) we managed to throw up our not-water-proof-at-all tent and crack open a few beers right before we blew the fuse of the charger box for the car, therefore rendering our cellphone chargers useless and having to go without phones (but more importantly, time-keeping devices) for the rest of the festival. Ah, Welcome to Bonnaroo.
Albeit our admittedly rough start, the rest of the festival was AMAZING. Absolutely, words-cannot-explain incredible. Because it was just the two of us, we floated around and made some new, fantastic friends, got to see some out-of-this-world musical performances (this what the line up, I still tingle when I look at it https://www.inquisitr.com/17160/bonnaroo-2009-lineup/) and generally just had a great fucking time.
It was the last set of the last day of the festival and Soto and I were rocking out with these guys who had somehow managed to sneak a bright green couch past security and actually into the audience on the lawn. This was amazing to me because you couldn’t even bring in foldable beach chairs or sneak a water bottle full of vodka on to the festival music grounds but these guys somehow had a freaking couch AND a cooler full of booze. Legendary.
At this point, Soto and I were music fest veterans. We had sustained ourselves off of shakeable pancake mix and beer for the past five days and after flash floods, extreme heat, our half-standing tent and insane partying, we had pretty much gotten this festival thing down.
Phish (one of my all time favorite bands) was closing up the festival but I was keeping it kind of mellow because I knew that after Phish was done at midnight, I was going to have to hitchhike 11 hours back to my parents house in Virginia the next day and any backpacker knows, there are few things worse in this world than hitching with a hellish hangover.
Enter the Coconut Ice cream Incident.
We were jamming out and enjoying our last festival night when one of the totally fried-out-of-his-mind couch guys handed me a pint of deliciously refreshing, oh-so-yummy coconut icecream. After a full day of drinking (or more like a full five days) who wouldn’t love some coconut icecream? I started mowing down on the pint when his not-so-fried-out-of-his-mind friend comes up to me and goes
Stoner Dude: “Whoa, you should like slow down, that shit’s really strong”
Stoner Dude: “Strong, there’s like- a lot of acid in there”
Stoner Dude: “Acid, in the icecream. Dude, you’ve musta eaten like three hits already”
WHAT THE FUCK? Acid? In the icecream!? God dammit.
And this is the beginning of ‘The Time that I Accidentally Took Acid’ (I know you are wondering about the ‘Twice’ part, just wait.)
For one second, I completely panicked. I had taken acid before in high school and I had HATED it. Although there were some parts about it that I had really liked, all and all it was way too intense of a drug for me. For anyone who hasn’t dabbled in recreational drug use, acid is nuts. It’s super intense, super visual and super conditional (as in it can turn on you any second) and, not to mention, it’s a huge commitment as a trip lasts anywhere from six to ten hours. The last time I did acid (which was meant to be my first and last time) I wouldn’t say that I had a ‘bad trip’ but I had a ‘really-not-good’ trip towards the end. Things got weird and scary and I felt extremely anxious and freaked out the whole time. Not cool. Not fun. Not how I was intending to spend my last night and morning at Bonnaroo.
The scariest part to me was how much I may (or may not have) consumed. That, combined with the fact the festival would be ending, how drained I already was and the fact that I was totally not prepared for this at all- conditions were looking pretty prime for a seriously bad trip. Shit.
I started weighing my options. Trying to throw up the icecream wouldn’t work as the acid had probably almost immediately seeped into my empty stomach. I had heard that alcohol decreased the effects of acid but really, how much booze was I going to have to drink to combat three hits of acid? I’d probably just end up wasted and still tripping. It’s times like these that all you want to do is completely lose your shit. Panic and fly off the handle, scream and yell about the injustice of the situation until things are made right.
Unfortunately, it’s also times like these that that is absolutely going to do no good (and actually, a whole lot of bad.) The only thing to do is stay calm, stay positive, stay ‘Dude.’
So what to do? What to do?
Of course. When in doubt, just do MORE drugs.
And this was the exact moment that I considered ‘candyflipping’ for the first time. “Candyflipping” is when you take acid and Ecstasy together at the same time. If that sounds crazy to you, that’s kind of because it is. Never in my life would I have ever even considered this but when in Rome… or at Bonnaroo…
As intense and as much of a commitment as acid is, ecstasy (or E) is just as well.
Except ecstasy isn’t conditional. At all. I would say it’s probably impossible NOT to have a good time on E. It’s call it ecstasy because it’s suppose to make you feel like that and keep you in that mental space… which is why, when I realized I had just taken three hits of acid, I decided it had to be the perfect (and only) remedy to the situation.
Okay, now where to find it?
I asked the couch guys if they knew anyone and they felt so bad about the coconut icecream mix up that they said to just go over to their friend ‘that dude in the bandana’ and ask him for it for free.
And this is where shit gets silly.
I go up to ‘that dude in the bandana’ and say that his friends asked if he could give me some for free. He says ‘Sure’ and hands me a de-labled Visine bottle.
Weird, I’ve never seen E in liquid form before. But then again, I am no drug expert so who knows?
I drop a drop on my tongue, say Thanks and walk back over to the couch boys.
Me: “Thank you guys so much. I was totally about to freak out… That’s crazy though, I have never seen ecstasy in liquid form before.”
Stoner Dude: “Liquid? Nah, he’s got pills.’
Stoner Dude: “He’s got little green pills, E’s not liquid…”
Trying to find the communication breakdown in a sea of newly massacred brain cells is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.
Me: “That dude in the bandana –pointing at the guy with the Visine bottle- he’s got pills?”
Stoner Dude: “Huh? THAT dude in the bandana? Nah, -pointing at ANOTHER GUY IN ANOTHER BANDANA- THAT dude in the bandana, he’s got pills… I don’t even know that other guy.”
Ohhhhh my goodness. Holy freaking shit.
And here is ‘The Time I Accidentally Took Acid… Twice.’
Wow, am I dumb. Of course, E wasn’t in liquid form. Of course, anything coming out of Visine bottle that isn’t Visine is acid. OF COURSE. And of course, my brain was so scattered from partying all weekend and in a tizzy over taking accidental acid that I didn’t put it all together until it was too late. Of course.
This time the couch guys walk me up to the CORRECT dude in the CORRECT bandana and he gives me a whole pill and splits one with me (are you calculating the amount of drugs in my system now? Mom, please don’t be mad.)
Ah, situation controlled (kind of.)
As will all of my stories, this one has a happy ending too. The acid kicks in while I’m watching Phish and it is THE MOST OUT-OF-THE-WORLD performance that I have EVER SEEN. Seriously. Words-can-not-describe amazingness. The lights, the jam sessions, oh my God. What I would give to be able to be able to record and relive what I experienced… ah!
But as soon as the set ended, the festival ended too. The ‘ugly lights’ blasted on, lighting up the tired crowd, surrounding trash and beginning-to-be-disassembled vendorbooths for the first time in five nights. Cops on massive, stoic horses lined the walkways, looking down on everyone and making sure no one got rowdy or out of line. Our little community, our little world was ending and no one wanted it to be over just yet. I felt like I was in a scene of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and was starting to lose control of my trip.
Soto and I walked back to our campsite without saying a word. Soto had never played with drugs before (plus he was totally wasted) so he couldn’t relate what I was going through and drank a quick beer with me and went to bed. I stayed up, chugging beers (remember I said alcohol decreases your trip) and watching the moon pixilate and shift.
Sitting by myself in the dark as everyone stumbled by in groups was starting to trip me out (and trip other people out too, I’m sure.) With my only friend fast asleep, what the heck was I going to do with myself all night in this condition?
I have no doubt that acid can be used as a consciences expanding vehicle in the right circumstances. I also have no doubt that being bored with a few friends in high school or being drained after a five day long bender are absolutely not the right circumstances.
I was starting to get creeped out by the realness of it all when I suddenly realized that I really had to pee. I had been drinking water and beer for hours on end and I had been so concerned by what was going on in my head, I had completely ignored my body.
I booked it across the campsite to the portapotties and made it just in time.
When stepped out of the portapotty, like a ton of bricks or a gust of wind, the E kicked in.
Things changed from overwhelming and weird to magical in an instant.
When I had gone into the portapotty, the campground lights had looked harsh and sterile, like sad lights on a cold movie set. It felt hospital-ly and surreal. When I stepped out of the portapotty (and the E had kicked in) the lights were soft, glowing, sparklely even, guiding the way to where ever I may have needed or wanted to go.
No joke. The change was that profound.
I could go on forever about the implications of perspective and the influence of our own minds on reality but I would rather just say, as soon as I stepped out of the portapotty, things began to get awesome.
I immediately met a couple standing right outside the bathrooms who were also all sorts of fucked up on God know’s what. We instantly hit it off and ventured together all over the darkened festival campgrounds on what still is, one of the most EPIC adventures of my life.
All and all it was an incredibly epic and expanding (even though completely unexpected) experience. Looking back, my ability to handle and make the best out of a potentially insanely shitty situation gives me a strong sense of gratification and confidence in dealing with life in general.
Drugs, backpacking and life have a lot in common. You have no real idea what you are getting yourself and all you really can do is- do your best, hope for the best and make the best out of whatever comes out. Life’s a rad trip… candyflipped or otherwise.
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