Sunday, October 21, 2007

Woodstock, NY

I went to Woodstock this weekend. Is it a pilgrimage for hippies, like Mecca for Christian-haters, er, Muslims? (You see, I always get confused when books fundamental to a religion reads, “Now when you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks until you overcome them fully...” (Qur’an 47:4).)(Continued digression – what is wrong with you people? “Smite”? “Smite” them? That’s a little extreme, ain’t it? And just because we are “unbelievers” in your version of the afterlife? Can’t we – can’t we al – [I can never get this phrase out without bursting out laughing][focus, Clyde][breath deep, stretch toes (it works!)][OK] Can’t we all just get along?)(Full Disclosure: I had a Muslim guy make some crack to me Saturday morning when I was pumping my own gas. Seems it was a semi-full service gas station. The Muslim guys running it were wandering around helping people pump their gas. I was mid-pump before he got there. He walks up to me and says, “Ah, typical American! You think you can do everything!” I said with a smile, “Not everything, but I can pump gas.” He did this good natured laugh and walked away. I looked at the back of his turban thinking, “WTF was that?”).

Whew, man, where was I? Woodstock! Oh, yeah. I went to Woodstock, NY, this weekend. It was, um, interesting. Screaming liberals caught in a 40-year time warp. I am so incredibly happy for them that we are fighting a war in Iraq – it gives them the perfect parallel for Johnson and Vietnam (well, let’s be fair, they still think it was Nixon, but that’s absurd to anyone who wasn’t tripping their brains out constantly from 1963 through 1973 … oh yeah! Nevermind – Nixon’s war. Got it.)

Everywhere you look you see condemnation of President Bush and the war: Store fronts, telephone poles, car bumpers. Surprisingly, there completely lacked any innovation slogans. The most common, which also made appearances on yard signs, read simply, “Impeach.” OK. Whatever. Free country, free speech (thanks to President Bush’s appointment of conservatives to SCOTUS). Isn’t “impeach” a transitive verb? It needs an object, right? I understand sentences in a continuum where the subject can be understood to avoid redundancy, but I never saw an object-understood sentence. I also did not see any of the bumper stickers popular with liberals down here: “I support the troops. Bring them home.” (Ah, you support them as long as they don’t have to do what they are trained to do. Yeah, OK. Whatever.) So in Woodstock, they support neither the war nor the military. Funny how some things don’t change.

So what does Woodstock look like? Here’s the “Corner Cupboard.” The red cans out front read, “Butts.” I think they are port-a-potties. See the paper-laden telephone poles? The white paper facing the road reads, “Lost dog today.” Funny. The sign outdates itself in less than 24 hours. There’s foresight! “Ah, Flower, you need to tell them when you lost the dog, so they know how long ago.” “Um, yeah, I guess you’re right, Moonbeam. What day is it?” “Today.” “OK, I’ll put that.”

So I got up at 630 or 700 this morning. The place was putting out coffee at 900. 900? You run this place and you sleep in? People staying there are, like, tourists. Tourists get up and, well, tour. Coffee is a staple. Tourists get cranky without coffee, and me in particular having to wait until 900. Had to walk three blocks to find the first open place. Here’s where I eventually had coffee this morning. Yeah, this pic was taken in 1969. That’s Bob Dylan in the doorway. Same place, still there. They keep the coffee pots in the walk-in freezer. Still can’t figure that out. Maybe it has something to do with making iced coffee. How do you make iced coffee if the pot is warm? Makes sense on some stoned-out-for-decades basis, I guess.

This picture of the waterfalls is from 1900 or thereabouts. Same falls, still there. Nothing changes in Woodstock, it seems, except the inventory of the consumables: Weed, acid, mushrooms, coffee, guitar strings, hair dye. The things that stay the same include waterfalls, coffee shops, late risers, glossy eyes, mindless stares, clothes now threadbare, publicly accessible port-a-potties. Even the people are the same people that have been there since 1969. You see, when you come into town from the NYS Thruway on Route 212, the road bends to the left and becomes Tinker Street. OK, no problem. But when you go back there’s like this other road that you don’t see when you come in. So if you travel back down Tinker, the 212 thing is, like, other there, but then in front of you is this road. It, um, well, it’s freaky, cuz, like, if you go out that road then, like, it isn’t 212. I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t that 212 thing. So, I think we’d better turn around. Now, if you walk, it’s cool. The 212 thing comes up, and, hey, there’s “Not Fade Way”! Let’s go in! Maybe the new Janis shirt came in, or some new Jimi stuff. Then, like, before we know it, we’re on 212. But in a car, it just doesn’t work that way. Must be Bush's fault. So, well, may as well find a place to live, eh?

Doubt me? Compare these pics. See the guy in the BW, the one sitting up front? Same dude in color, just now he’s wearing a dress. Looks like the place he got to live is town square. Nice TV.

Woodstock, NY. Remarkable town.

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