Friday, May 12, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part ten

John and I sat with Linda and Sherry in the front of their tent, and I was stoned as hell. I assumed everyone else was, as well, because everyone had gotten quiet. Pot can be funny like that. It can open the door to the craziest of conversations, or it can make one very quiet, and with Sherry's pot we had all gone from the former to the latter. So it was a good thing that about that time the Woodstock PA system came alive.

I looked at my watch, and it was a little before 10, and as was the case on Saturday the powers that be gave us some morning music to listen to. In between the bands and announcements, they played music over the PA, and this morning they were starting off with a song that I heard a lot on Saturday. At first, I hadn't liked the song. It was a mellow song, with pretty much all acoustic guitars as instruments and the vocals being sung in harmonies a lot. My main music influence was The Beatles, who were known for some pretty mellow stuff, and I liked everything they did. But in 1968, when I discovered Jimi Hendrix, I became a heavy metal fan. In fact, it was in a review of Jimi Hendrix's music that the term "heavy metal" had been coined. The reviewer had said that his music was like, "...heavy metal falling from the sky." Then, by 1969, Led Zeppelin had hit the scene along with other heavy metal groups such as Ten Years After and Johnny Winter, and I liked them quite a bit, as well. So I wasn't the mellow song type unless it came from The Beatles; they could do no wrong.

But this one song, the one from Saturday, was growing on me. So when it came on right then while I was really stoned, it made the moment. That was one really good thing about pot; it made music sound great. Not as good as acid did--listening to music when I was tripping was the ultimate experience--but it was a close runner-up.

So there we were: four stoned out hippie types listening to the music, and it was Linda who broke the silence by expressing my thoughts exactly. "This is a really cool song," she said.

"Yes, it is," John agreed. "Who does it?"

"I don't know," Linda answered. She looked me.

I just shrugged my shoulders.

"It's so melodic," Sherry said. "Don't you think?" She turned and looked me.

"Yeah," I replied. She kind of caught me off guard, and I looked down, but I liked the attention.

We got quiet again, and I focused back on the song. "I like this part coming up," Linda said, and as I listened I knew the part she spoke of. The whole song seemed like several songs combined into one, and the last part was coming up. It was pretty cool when it started. The guitar changed and when the singer started in, he sang in a foreign language. Then it was over.

I sighed. "That's a cool song," I said more to myself than to anyone else, but Sherry looked at me and smiled. And you're a cool girl I would've said to her if I'd had the nerve. But I didn't.

Then came blasting out of the PA system was Country Joe and the Fish doing their very popular song, Fixin'-to-Die-Rag. I had it on 8-track at home--my dad had bought me an 8-track player for my stereo system the previous Christmas--and John and I listened to it a lot. It was the best song on the tape, and, to be honest, the only good song on the tape, but it was really good, so when the chorus came around, John and I slowly started to sing along. He started in first. "Well, it's 1-2-3 what are we fighting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn." Then I joined in. "Next stop is Vietnam." On the second verse John and I sang more enthusiastically. "And it's 5-6-7 open up the pearly gates. Well there ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee were all going to die." When the chorus came around again, John and I sang it together in its entirety, and when it was over, both Linda and Sherry laughed with a sense of enjoyment. I was surprised at myself. I wasn't one for making public displays. I immediately went back into my usual quiet and reserved mode, and looked down.

"You feel like getting something to eat?" John asked me as if he sensed my being uncomfortable.

"Yes," I said quickly and with relief.

"You girls want to walk up with us?" John asked Linda and Sherry.

"I don't want to walk through all that mud." Linda wiggled her feet. As with Sherry, Linda had on only sneakers, and I could see her point. If I had a hard time keeping my boots on through that mess, I was sure it would suck a shoe right off one's foot. "Besides, we have a couple sandwiches left that we packed," she added.

"Wow, sandwiches," John said. "You all have your shit together."

"It's too bad you got your sleeping bags stolen," Linda said. "I hope the blankets helped."

"Yeah, they worked out great," John said.

"Yes, thank you," I told them.

John stood up and stretched. "Well, me and Johnny Lee are going to go up and get something to eat."

I was sitting cross-legged, and when I went to stretch out my legs to stand up, my right leg wouldn't work.

"What's wrong," John asked. He glanced down at me.

"I think my leg fell asleep." My leg had gone completely numb, which always scared me when my leg fell asleep because I always felt as if I was not going to get my feeling back. I stretched my leg out with my arms, and after a minute the feeling did start to come back, but it was worse than the numbness.

"Ow," I said, and began to rub my leg.

John laughed. "Does it feel like pins and needles?"

"Yeah." It hurt like hell.

"Feels good, doesn't it?" John chuckled a little.

I felt like telling him to fuck off, but I settled with feeling angry with him. Finally, my leg began to feel normal, and I stood up.

"Ready?" John asked.


John turned to Linda and Sherry. "You girls want to go up on the hill and listen to some music later?"

"Sure," Linda said. She looked at Sherry.

Sherry looked at me then John then back at me. "Yeah," she said, and her eyes got big.

"We should be here for a while," Linda said.

"We'll meet you back here," John told them. And with that we were off.

John and I headed for the road, which was not far away, and, crossing it, we hiked back up the hill, and trudged through the mud once more until we got to the concession stands. We had hot dogs for breakfast, while John discussed our present situation with me.

"I think Sherry likes you," John said.

"I don't know," I said. I thought she did, too, but one thing about me was that when I got encouragement about a girl liking me, it made me more self-conscious and harder to act on my feelings.

"I know she does," John said. "I can tell by the way she looks at you. You should try to do something with her. I don't mind taking the fat girl."

John was trying to get me laid. He was surely going to try to make it with Linda. John was like my dad in that respect. Neither one was ever going to let an opportunity to have sex get away from them, even at the expense of a girl's feelings. My dad had told me his own personal philosophy in his perverted version of the birds and the bees: Find 'em, fuck 'em and forget 'em. The way I saw it, if I found ‘em and fucked ‘em, I was sure going to try to keep 'em.


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