>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

March 13, 2008

Work like you don’t need the money
Love like you’ve never been hurt
Dance like nobody
Is watching.
-Keller Williams

Renting an RV is a slow and uneasy process. Not that I would know. I avoided that part of my recent vacation like one avoids totally avoidable plagues. I know that plagues can’t really be avoided but an expression is an expression and I ain’t here to judge or take sides.

Nope, while Nick, Wendy, Ben and Taneel were learning the finer points of RV safety, storage and maintenance, I was buying silly string and a Mylar balloon with Nick’s sister, Liz. The Mylar balloon—Liz picked the Dora the Explorer balloon because she’s funny—would eventually be tied to a pole so we could find the RV while wasted. I bought silly string, which was not necessary but, in my experience, had never made any situation less fun.

When we got back to Nick’s mom’s house, our RV awaited us.

“We listened to an old man sing a song about killing his daughter-in-law at our campground.”

Packing things can be kind of boring but packing an RV…you’re right, that’s boring, too. But hey, at least we packed it.

We drove from Ft. Myers to the Everglades with the hopes of watching a good chunk of the ninety plus bands on the five stages.

As we drove, all six of us joked, laughed, and told stories. Some of us didn’t know each other and background was in order. Others of us knew each other only too well and were happy to provide the background to those of us who needed the backgrounds. Meanwhile, Nick drove the RV through our personal background of pouring rain and thunder.

Pouring rain and thunder cannot stop music, they cannot seep through my rain parka, and, most importantly, they cannot fight the influence of alcohol.

We trudged through the wet earth, we consumed things we probably shouldn’t have, and we injured ourselves on the way back. We fell in the mud. We laughed. We played the guitar and the harmonica and we passed out with smiles on our faces and three more days of music to go.

And in the morning we were the headaches, and the Porto johns, and the five dollar showers in recycled water. We were dipping our hands into warm water in warm coolers so we could mix rum with Gatorade. And then…more music.

Four nights and three days. We each saw roughly twenty bands. We lost each other a few hundred times, we found each other a few hundred times, we ate meat on sticks, we listened to an old man sing a song about killing his daughter-in-law at our campground. We played our own music with the old man. We heard the music in the wind when the performer’s music died down. We felt the music. In a sense, we were the music. But that’s geeky and hippie sounding and nobody likes that.

Keller Williams was the tweaker by the speaker and he told the 95 Deer Creek gate crashers to fuck off; Arrested Development reminded me that, not only do they exist, but they are really fucking good and underrated; The Wailers and The Beasties reminded us that they have more energy than gray hairs. Matisyahu introduced himself to me with a flurry of quick-witted soft rhymes that made me think, “I should think more.”

And I should. I really should.

There was Raq and Lesh and Sexton and 311. There was the Disco Biscuits, too, but it was just too cold (sorry Disco Biscuits) that midnight.

And I wouldn’t see Grace Potter, and I held my middle fingers high at REM as they asked Kenneth for the frequency.

And there was a stray dog for a little while—not long enough to be named, which I guess is a long enough time to spend with any stray dog.

There were barbecues and breakfast burritos and mimosas in the morning, followed by rum, followed by rum, followed by beer, followed by enough water to get my head clear so I could go back to rum.

And I like to think that somewhere, there was Jesus. But I didn’t see him at Big Cypress.

And then the guy who lived across the hall from me in my first semester of college walked out of the Lesh crowd and saw me sitting in a portable chair and said, “Is that Nate?”

I smiled at him.

“Nice,” he said.

And it was, it was all really nice.

So anyway, you should check out Langerado next year. It’s good times.