The bass shakes my ribcage and steals my breath from my chest with every boom. The crush of the crowd is getting me all anxious, all crazed. The lights get gone. Big scream emanates, we all start to vibrate. Then four silhouettes appear behind a big white curtain, all neat and lined up in a row, immovable, stationed behind laptops. People around me start chanting “Kraftwerk! Kraftwerk!” in awful, fake German accents. The band appears when the curtain hightails it out of there, knowing what’s good for it.
Setting: Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California.
Temperature: 102 Fahrenheit.
Characters: me plus sixty-thousand.
Now I’m lying on the trampled grass, around me masses teem. I stare up – moon, other stuff. I separate the moon into two with my eyes. Now they look like oncoming headlights, immovable, neat and lined up in row.
I’m being nice about it, I swear to God. It’s really fucking crowded in here, and I’ve lost my friends. Scuse me love! I crow in an English accent, hoping that if they won’t let me by, maybe they’ll let Kelly Osbourne by. Most people give me a dirty look but eventually let me through.
And then then then:
No you’re not, says a girl with a pinched face.
But I have to find my friends, I say.
Another girl in front of me, hair tied tightly in a ponytail, whips around and glares at me. She moves her lips but I can’t hear most of what she says. So DON’T you fucking touch me, she finishes up. I say something to the effect of relax bitch, I just need to get through and then you can continue on with your shitty existence.
Oops. Her boyfriend, a rather large (read: three hundred pounds of ugly) fellow with a smartly stained white shirt and yellow fishing hat, turns around with agility that surprises me. He says something and pushes me into Pinch-Faced Girl, who in turn pushes me back into Ponytail. Ponytail helps herself to a fistful of my hair, while Sir Stain-Shirt’s fist closes in on itself, pulls back, then pushes forward into my chest.
Oh. Oh, oh, oh. They continue their hospitality (read: ass kicking) until someone grabs me and pushes me into a different crowd of pissed off people.
Then I see Amber and company. I find my way to them and promptly commence sobbing. I want to be so pissed off but this isn’t cool, my chest hurts and my head hurts and I think I might be sober now. Amber is pissed too, she can’t believe that shit, she says. That shit is fucked, she says. I nod, hand up to my face, wishing I’m really as tough as I pretend I am. All of a sudden I fucking hate Kraftwerk and I hate Germany and I hate Coachella most of all. I could be home in San Diego, pretending I’m tough. I could be home right now, manipulating that one poor boy into sleeping with me. I could be home, with people that understand that the point of Kraftwerk was to NOT be a robot. Right?
The show ends, finally. I’ve been needing to get the fuuuuuuck out of here but now I’m scared to try to leave, inviting further, ahem, hospitality. After about eight hundred encores we stumble out, I am still attempting to cry without anyone noticing.
And then and then and then:
I see them. They see me. Oh, oh, oh. What are my legs doing walking over there so fast? My brain thinks of the most childish thing to do, and my body does it. My arm leaps out from my side. I smack Ponytail with the tightest fist I can muster.
Right in her ugly bitch face.
Motherfucking Stain-Shirt decides he wants to die, lunges at me. The bottle in my other hand decides to break itself, then eagerly jumps to his throat for an embrace. I have nothing to do with it, you know. Participation without attachment. The floor can’t wait, and rushes up to meet him.
Believe me, that motherfucker has died so many times in my mind since we left that show without incident, my head hanging, my hands shaking. That particular revenge scenario is the most common, though the one with renegade bulldozer runs a close second. I’m horrible with direct conflict and I usually lack bloodlust, but there you have it.
There. You. Have. It.
The headlights stay. They waver and melt back into one large bright orb thingy. The Cure are done playing I guess, because people are getting more numerous and now I’m getting stepped on. I’m okay now, I assure my friend who knows that shit is fucked. And I am. Okay I mean. So I sit up and then I stand up and then we are walking, then driving, towards the place where that one poor boy is and jocks who like Kraftwerk are few and far between. Towards the place where the moon is singular and my ribs remains unshaken, towards where pinched faces and ponytails never even existed. Towards my home where I am tough and totally would have kicked that guy’s ass.
By: Kate Savage