Monday, April 18, 2011

Existentialism in Amherst

I've dodged bullets before. Figuratively, not literally of course - the right to bear arms has had absolutely no effect on my day-to-day I'm happy to say. However, despite the lack of sleep and the liver-pickling effort I put in the night before, I managed to make my 9AM class without the tiniest bit of illness. It wasn't a bullet I dodged, it was a cannonball.
Fact: the Red Sox are terrible this year.

Thursday's effort was the kind of memorable that leaves very little to the memory bank. Smart-arsery, photobombs, false accusations towards strangers and being a general prat were the order of the night. I crushed a plastic cup on Evan's head for reasons I don't recall, and duly received the same treatment in return. I had planned on a few quiet ones, but when I was getting special prices and the occasional free Bacardi, the plan crumbled like a sandcastle falling victim to poor tidal judgement.

What's worse, when the bar shut the night didn't end. I persevered to an hour more familiar to bakers before finally calling it quits in favour of an educational promise to myself and a few hours kip. I woke up for class the next day in the same clothes as the night before, but with shoes swapped out for a pair of colder and infinitely more comfortable thongs. Early morning summer delusion was the call of the day as my feet froze.

We planned the Saturday night with a run to the liquor store, and on the return journey a man with the undeniable look of crazy greeted us at the bus stop. It could have been the paper bags, or the funny voices, but from the moment we got there he began to eye us off, slowly stepping towards the group. When he finally broke his silence, he began a micro-schizophrenic verse that ended with me being called a "snake in the grass" amongst other things. He continued with the crazy for a while and in between his complaints about missing the Red Sox game due to a lack of television I waited for him to either pull a knife or steal our 40oz PBRs. Alas, a bus arrived, and as we left we happily responded to his query about any of us owning a television with a polite "no".

Thursday had been fun, and Friday was relatively calmer by comparison. Sam and I discretely headed for the Spoke, but it appears our course of direction threw us away from the action. At a party that followed the bar visit, Josh tried to escape with a beer in his hand. Once spotted by two bicycle police, two squad cars were called in followed by a transportation van. He was hauled to jail for a few hours in what is a remarkable misallocation of tax-payer spending for the sake of an open container law that is laughable to anyone not from America. Oh well, at least he gets a souvenir mugshot, and for that I'm a little bit jealous.

For some reason, Friday left me feeling absolutely battered on Saturday. I felt like I had the life and motivation to do anything sponged from within while my head was left to throb an incessant bass drum beat in my brain. Fortunately, Amherst's Cannabis Reform Committee had decided to provide some soothing weekend entertainment.

While the police will happily arrest you for holding an open drink, they turned a blind eye to the 'Extravaganja' event that took place on the town common. I was late to arrive, but already things were proving entertaining. A stream of poncho-wearing red-eyed stumblers were heading the other direction as things were beginning to wrap up. In town, Antonio's pizza shop had a bigger line than any I'd seen there before and the doorway next to it was occupied by a group of four gentlemen who proceeded to stroke the glass window up and down for a while. The giant sandwich mascot of Subway was to stoners what a light is to a moth. The visit was short, and I though I didn't actively participate, I saw enough to want to return the next day, camera in hand.

And so I did. The previous night's rain made me sink into the ground as if I'd doubled my weight overnight. Years ago, some structuralist ideology determined reggae was the preferred choice of a marijuana smoker, so that played loudly over the stage and speaker system at the other end as people lit up without a care. Naturally, there were people in Bob Marley shirts playing hackey-sack next to girls with hula-hoops. There were stalls all over, but only three products being sold - over priced food, phallic smoke ware and lots of tie-dye. One entrepreneur was offering hand-painted lighters for sale, but had simply written 420 on them in black marker and it seems most people had caught onto the act.

Tents were scattered all over the area, and dogs and children joined chemically challenged owners and parents. Bros were as equally welcomed and hippies of all ages mingled like it was a social mixer. I saw two bicycle police the whole time, and they were situated on the outer of the commons, clearly not needing to be utilised.

a more seriouser photography man

I left the scene in the same state as I arrived. Hippies, festivals and stoners are the same the whole world over. It's all bad smells, bad dancing, slow talking and not giving a single fuck. I could have been anywhere else in the world and been witness to similar scenes such is the generic nature of stoners, but to have it in Amherst, where I had previously criticised a bored and overbearing authority, was pretty nice.

I had planned on heading away for the long weekend, but some medical bills (which I finally paid) and exorbitant Boston accommodation put an end to that (PS, if anyone has a couch/floor available in Boston or around after school finishes please let me know). The long weekend was highly unproductive, with work falling even further behind. I'm having a minor existential crisis in Amherst over my degree and journalism. Things for one of my classes have gone extraordinarily pear-shaped, and for the first time since high-school, I feel like I'm willing to settle for the bare minimum. It's a horrible feeling, and even though I'm working hard to rectify the academic issues, I feel like I'm trying to climb a mountain that is in the middle of a landslide. I love university and the opportunity I've been given, but the next 3 weeks will determine how hard I'm willing to work to get what I want. Here we go.

The Cure - Friday I'm In Love
That last paragraph was a massive downer, so I figured I'd share MY FAVOURITE SONG OF ALL TIME! Yeah, it's official. There's no facebook announcement, no lyrics tattooed on my forehead or any of that - just a few words and an embed code typed into a blog. Still, I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do. I remember hearing on it on commercial radio when I was a kid, before downloading it when I was a teenager. It survived everything since, and even today it still gets me. Everything from the opening riff to the weird noises at the end is just perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Fact: the Red Sox have STARTED terribly.
    Opinion: they will still win the World Series this year.