Last Friday, I left school with my two (out of three) best friends in the world.
Kelsey, who I’ve known since I was a kid and is the Yin to my Yang.
Bryan, who I’ve loved unconditionally since I met him last school year. He’s who I’d want to be if I was tall, handsome and a man.
We drove to Portland, a place I’d never been to without rotting away in suburbia. The drive was beautiful and I took poorly-artistic photos out the window. We listened and danced to a lot of Crystal Castles, and then ran into a bird. Bryan almost insisted that we turn back and make sure it was okay. Though, to his credit, his coffee was only half-finished at the time.
We arrived, painstakingly chose our Seattle by Yakima cool kid outfits, waited in line for an hour, bought incredible t-shirts, and then waited in front of a stage for three hours.
I don’t know if there’s something in the water in Portland, but the kids there were 50% sexier, hipper, and drunker than Seattle kids. I’m trying to make up my mind as to whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Somewhere in that time, after the set of friggin’ fantastic mash-ups by a nameless DJ and before a godawful techno band with a (badly) dancing yowling singer in stretch pants, I also got incredibly sick. So sick I left my standing place in FRONT (touching it front) of the stage and ran clumsily to the ladies’ room. If I wasn’t already prepared to reacquaint myself with food court Thai food, I certainly was after seeing the state of the floor in that bathroom. I don’t think I’ve ever been painted into a more disgusting picture. There’s still some off color spots on my converse, a week later. I have no idea how to get them off.
But I digress.
I did manage to pull myself out of that rotten bathroom and walk back out onto the floor.
And then. We saw. M.I.A.
She was incredible. Incredible incredible incredible. She is beautiful and awesome and most likely the coolest person on the face of the earth. I danced various appendages clean off of my body. I danced, and I sweat onto the people around me and they sweat right back. I danced and sang “20 Dollar” at the top of my lungs, and only one rodent-like hipster in front turned around to glare at me with one of those looks on his face.
Videos of third-world dancers played behind her, in her sparkly jacket and rhinestone-studded eyes. Flash animation of her flying through a cartoon landscape played too. The kids around me wanted to sing and make out and dance and dismantle our majority establishment and then dance into wee hours of the morning, or until their leg and hip muscles just gave out. I think we would have (it went on well until 1.)
Bryan was pulled up during “Boyz” ( How many no money boyz are crazy/How many boyz are raw?/How many no money boyz are rowdy/How many start a war?) onto the stage with a number of his masculine-looking counterparts (some in drag, some not) and they shook their skinny boy hips and looked like the would cry with joy. Later in the car, the phrase “she touched my shirt, she touched my shirt” was repeated like a mantra.
M.I.A. closed with “Paper Planes”. We screamed the words into the ceiling above us and shot our imaginary guns. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t feel real.
Then she left. Bryan staring wide-eyed for friends who he assumed didn’t see him in the crowning moment of his eighteen years. Kels and I wiping sweat slick hair back from our faces and grinning like idiots.
Then, we met Beth Ditto, the singer of the neo-soul-punk band Gossip. I still haven’t quite found the words to articulate myself. She was amazing. And super nice. And surprisingly, not annoyed by sweaty, stinky, (puke-covered), teenagers who gush in loud voices due to their post-show deafness.
I’m still recovering (and learning how to hear again.)
The Best Friday Night Ever.