Preconceived Notions About Coachella
I – having grown up and gone to school on the East Coast without a spare $600 to throw around – have never been remotely close to experiencing the three-day indie music mecca that is Palm Springs in April. But now, with my snazzy L.A. address and California license plates and full-time job, I have managed (with some yogi stretching and credit-card flexing) to secure a ticket and some attractive people to go with me to Coachella. But I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t have some preconceived notions about the weekend, just like I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have my wedding menu picked out (my fiancé won’t be my fiancé if they don’t eat what I like to eat, so don’t worry). Please, veterans, Coachella staffers, and know-it-alls alike, correct me if I’m wrong… I just want to be prepared.
1. You must dress to get style-spotted.
I may or my not already have my outfits folded neatly and color-coded on the floor of my bedroom. I may or may not have booked an overpriced $40-dollar manicure so that I can have my nails done in intricate Navajo print. I may or may not feel inadequate if no one wants to take my picture. 95 percent of the reason Coachella exists is to give style blogs something to fill their content quota for an otherwise boring month. No one wears anything good in April except for colorful rain boots and baseball caps where I’m from, but somehow, I’ve found myself scrolling through “10 headbands to keep your sweaty bangs off your face in style”-type posts since I learned how to waste time on the internet. ‘Cause that’s what this whole thing is really about, right?
2. Tripping on psychedelic drugs is a requirement.
If you’re not on E and/or mushrooms and/or acid, you’re not doing it right. I don’t know what it is about huge festivals in deserts, but they seem to cry out for altered states of consciousness. I’ve never been one for tripping, but I’ll need to at least act like I’m having a transcendental full-body high for at least the first day so that they let me stay for the rest of it.
3. Nobody sleeps or showers, but everyone is having sex.
Everyone there is young and hot and high (see #1 and #2), and there are a million things to do that are decidedly cooler than sleeping. They also charge 10 dollars for a “real” shower, something I certainly am not going to have money for (see, Coachella ticket prices, #1, and #2). This leads me to believe that despite secreting out the equivalent of my weight in sweat and running around in sand and dirt to embarrassing silent dance parties and eating spicy food from overpriced food trucks, some other person there is going to want to sleep with me. And so we all just go back to our tents or refurbished VW vans and do it, even if it means missing the Shins’ set.
4. This is our generation’s Woodstock.
…I’m pretty sure I made that up. But it’s the only way I could explain to my mom where I was going to be next weekend without her being worried about my budgeting skills. I think she’s probably still worried about other things, like my well-being and my brain cells.
5. Coachella is, like, THE BEST THREE (and a half) DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.
Forget about that time you met your soul mate and holed up in your bed talking about your old dogs and life values all weekend, and then they made you pancakes AND eggs. Or that time you ate nothing but barbecued ribs and hush puppies as you drove through the Deep South with the windows down and Andrew Bird blasting. Or any other good thing that has ever happened to you. Because Coachella… Coachella will blow all that out of the water. The campgrounds, the people watching, and yea, the music I guess, they’re just like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”