Paradise Found

I’m in California for Coachella, and I think I’m in love with this corner of the country. It’s not just the In-N-Outs, it’s not the wonderful dry heart, it’s not even the fact that everyone is gorgeous — actually, I’m kind of alarmed by how everyone is tattooed. This is the narrow prejudice of my class talking, I realize, but I was a little surprised to find that even “genteel” types were thoroughly tattooed. Among my acquaintances, I think I know two women with enormous tattoos, both of them gorgeous, both of them self-consciously bohemian. When I made note of this to my crony, a California native, she said, “Yeah, but the thing is that everyone is half-naked here.” Which is true. It could be that everyone I know has elaborate tattoos covering the parts of the body normally obscured by LDS undergarments.

But I digress. No, I think I love it here because … wait, it’s a combination of all of the reasons above. I’m also fascinated by the ethnic composition of the crowd, and the ease of the cross-class ethnic intermingling. This is a commonplace among elite-educated types, but here it seems like more of a general way of life. In itself this is neither here nor there, yet I still find something extremely cool about the Near Eastern hippies, the Latino hipsters, and the Asian frat types getting along so smashingly well. The ubiquity of the tan blurs the picture further. Yes, California as the future is a tiresome cliché, and all is not well in paradise. But as I wander through the crowds, catching a lot more than I had ever hoped music-wise, I feel very optimistic.

I realize that it makes very little sense for me to move here, and my car-free lifestyle is looking smarter by the day. All the same, as I laze around I am sorely tempted to become an aging sun-loving bum. I’ll have something more substantive to say music-wise later. For now, gosh, I feel strangely exhilarated.