I went home this weekend. Columbia is like a third parent to me, in so many ways. So much of growing up is completely inseperable from the place of Columbia, so in that way, Columbia has its own personality- it's personified in weather, in coffee shops, in city blocks, in certain smells, in sounds and music festivals, in people that you only ever see in one location.
The second annual "Roots, Blues, and BBQ" festival was in full swing when I got there on Friday, as if Downtown Columbia needed any more activity than it's usual bustle to make me completely happy. Such an event (with blues and bbq to boot, too!) was just a monumental bonus. I think soon, Columbia will be referred to as "Little Portland," and be an absolute personification of all the cliche things of one of my favorite blogs Stuff White People Like . Gotta love it. The place is filled with Farmer's Markets, and local coffee shops, and organic restaurants, and pedestrians, and art-good and bad, and my new favorite: Sharrows ("Share the road w/ bicyclers" arrows). There are college students, yuppies, homeless people, intellectuals, artists, political activists, and hippies; and often, one person will occupy more than one of these categories. My friend Aaron had the best quote of the weekend when he said (talking about hippies and homeless people hanging out:)
"...I mean why not? They have so much in common! All the homeless people used to be hippies, and all the hippies want to be homeless."
That's just perfect, right? It's even better when I tell you that we got on the subject after seeing six people ride down the block on bicycles in capes...we came to find that they had psuedonyms like "Gypsy Weaver" and "Infinity Man." I mean, I could make this crap up, but I just never have to.
This festival is exactly the kind of thing that simply must be experienced first-hand. I always find it so hard to believe that writers can write about life from inside a closet, away from the experience of it. All this has to be seen, smelled, heard, felt. I have to see the tens of thousands of people smashed against one another fighting for space, trying to see, trying to dance-even though I hate it and it makes me feel panicky and claustrophobic. I have to smell the bbq smoke; feel the burn in my eyes and my throat from the carbon monoxide, cayenne pepper, and vinegar on the air. I have to smell the alcohol, the pavement, the people, the October air. I have to hear the music, the shouts of people, the sizzle of grills. I have to feel the unusual warmth of the early-October-evening-sun. I have to feel the bass thump-thump in my feet and my heart and my veins until eventually my blood pumps to the same rhythm of this musical emotion heard for blocks. This music, this music, this music. These beautiful blues. Awwwwww yeahhhhhhh, this good rhythm. This kind of music tells stories: it tells it with poetry, guitar riffs, and sweat; listen to my pain, make love to me, break my heart, take my guitar, let's do some sinnin', and save me Jesus. Play till you bleed, sing till you suffocate, drink till you die. So long as the music lives on.
Well, I think I just wrote a song.