SUNDAY, October 19, 2008
I woke up and knew that Russ wasn’t in the room. And I knew that he had gone to the lobby and moved all of the sound equipment back into the ballroom and had probably done it himself. And while I was a little miffed that he didn’t wake me up to help him, thereby having suitable leverage to use it against me, I couldn’t deny that the extra hour or two of sleep was very, very nice.
When I arrived in the ballroom the seminar from NORML’s legal committee was starting. I thought, great, I’ll just sit down and film stuff like always. I don’t even have to load anything in!
Not true, my friends. There is always something to be done.
I received a piece of paper from Dr. Frank Lucido, with the instructions to make 200 copies. Simple. I walked to the front desk and asked them to make copies.
The lady said, “The copier is broken.”
My first thought was, “Buuuulllshit.” But I went back and told Russ that the copier was down. He told me to tell Frank. Bah, I didn’t want to do that. Frank was sitting at his spot on the panel now! I went up to Frank and told him, and he said, “This is a three hour conference. They should be able to fix the copier by then.”
At this point I was thinking that Mr. Lucido was kind of a big wig jerk sorta guy. Mr. I Don’t Have to Make Copies Myself Well in Advance of the Seminar kinda guy. But I was in no place to argue, so I went back to the front desk, talked to a different lady, laid out my situation. They said the copier was down. I said, “Can you fix it within three hours?” She said no, only special people could fix the copier. This is code for “We’re not going to fix the copier for you. Ever.” So I asked ever so politely if they would direct me to the nearest Kinkos. They gave me directions and I took the Jeep into Berkeley, officially visiting a part of California in the daytime. My verdict? It was alright.
Nothing of interest happened while I made copies. They cost .11 cents a copy in California. That’s a lot of money for a piece of paper, I say. I got a little lost but only because I drove past the Kinkos. So the Verizon Navigator lady (her name is Michelle) said, “You are at your destination,” and I was like, “No I’m not Michelle! Don’t you lie to me like that!” only to find out that she was right all along. I’ll never doubt you again, Michelle.
I delivered the copies and Frank said thank you and the rest of the seminar went off flawlessly. Afterwards Frank thanked me again for getting him copies, and I realized that he’s not a big wig jerk sorta guy at all, which disappointed me a little only because no one was a big wig jerk sorta guy, so there was no one that I could root against. Not one silly selfish asshole among the bunch. It would’ve made for a terrible TV show, that’s all I’m saying.
After the seminar we broke for lunch and the hotel staff generously let us know that they had double booked the ballroom, and thus had to cut our room size in half with those stupid separators they use. So the next seminar from Oaksterdam was in 1/4th of the ballroom, with chairs set up almost around the panel, and the projector projecting on the wall. Goo d work hotel, you have no officially devolved us into an amateur conference. Thanks a lot.
Oaksterdam’s seminar was on “cannabusiness,” which is one of the cleverest portmanteau’s I’ve ever seen. It was interesting but by this time I was working of little sleep and was getting tired. After their seminar we broke everything down and loaded it into the Jeep. I was under the impression that we were going to start driving, but Russ had one more fundraising party to go to, and so we did that.
The fundraiser was approximately in the middle of the hills. Even Michelle could not navigate the streets we had to drive through. It was in Canyon, California, which is near Oakland, I guess. For a while we were on the freeway and then suddenly we were in some seriously suburban windy hillside streets, and then past that was a long stretch of road that looked downright dangerous to drive on. Thank god for the Jeep’s four-wheel drive.
After a few minutes of scary driving we reached a house which I thought was the place but was actually a post office or something. We found a place to park and a man directed us up a dark hill to the actual party location. Once we got there we wandered around in a daze for a bit. There was a big white dome tent thing where people were hanging out, and one of those inflatable slides. It was pretty bad ass. After a while we met up with Cindy and Marcia yet again (big pimpin’, spendin cheese…), and I pretty much latched on to them and Russ for the remainder of our time there, because what the hell else was I going to do?
At one point I was sitting by a fire when some young cute woman approached me and started talking to me about the fire, which turned into general conversation. I thought, “Finally! I don’t feel like a total loser now! Look at me, talking to this woman and being all cool and stuff.”
And then we went to get more beers and she found her boyfriend. C’EST LA VIE!
We were being beckoned down to the dome to hear some Rastafarian rapper. Soulmatic, I think his name was. The dome was cool but it was getting cold out, and Russ and I had a long drive to make. So we hung out for a bit and then decided to take off. I was the DD, which meant Russ was off his rocker and I had one beer, so he was trying to figure out how to go upstairs to say goodbye to the Jersey girls. I was about to go myself when I turned right and saw them walking to me. They were eager to leave as well. They, however, took a limo here, and that limo wasn’t scheduled to leave until midnight. So they wanted to come with us. Well, we literally only had room for the two of us in that stuffed-to-the-brim Jeep. I thought we could just wait or find the limo driver or even find someone else who was leaving and ask them for a ride. Russ, however, wanted to make room in the Jeep. So he wandered off to do that.
Which left me with the two Jersey girls. No problems there. Cindy was sitting on the curb, and Marcia was leaning against me, probably for warmth or to stop the spinning. I’ll be honest – I never feel like I’m “big pimping”. I know this comes as a shock to you, but it’s true. Most of the time I feel like I’m in people’s way, and when it comes to women it’s more like, Not only am I in your way, but I actively repulse you. Like I said
, socially awkward. Plus they were drunk and I wasn’t, so it wasn’t anything fancy, it was more like babysitting (haha, sorry ladies).
After a while I got worried that Russ fell into a ditch or something, so I excused myself to go look for him, and found him in some grand rearranging scheme that I knew wouldn’t work but decided to go along with just, I dunno, for shits and giggles. So we spent a good thirty minutes trying to rearrange the Jeep to allow one more seat for the Jersey girls. When we thought that we might make it work out (it wouldn’t), I looked over and saw the limo leaving. “Uh, Russ,” I said, “I think the limo’s leaving.”
We both went over to see if the Jersey girls had left on the limo. Russ couldn’t find out, but I just asked the guy who was standing there if they had left. He said yes. So all of our rearranging efforts were for naught, and we didn’t even get to say goodbye to Cindy and Marcia.
We put everything back in place in the Jeep, and I asked Michelle to get us out of these hills, and she did, and soon we were on the road to Portland.
I did manage to get my first taste of In‘n’Out Burger on the way back though. And while we were ordering food at the drive thru a homeless man walked up behind the speaker and started shouting at me. I felt that that was all the California I needed.
The ride back became a tag team effort to sleep and drive. I would drive, Russ would sleep. Russ would drive, I would sleep. Russ and I would sleep in a rest area, etc. We got back to Portland around 11am on Monday, got home, brought our bags in, and promptly passed out. Russ had to get up to speak at the Artists for Obama rally at the Wonder Ballroom later that night, so he needed a bit more rest than I did.
I think I’ll close my travelogue with this: at the Artists for Obama rally, Russ told his wife all about the Jersey girls and the “big pimpin” comments he was getting, assuring her that it was very far from the truth. Then he mentioned Marcia, saying that he was trying to hook her and me up. I said something to the effect of, “WHAA?” to which Russ said, “She’s only 24. Did you know she was 24?”
I turned into a very tiny sheep and said, “no.”
The moral of the story being, have fun. Have fun first. Enjoy the life you’ve got, don’t try to alter it or force it to other people’s expectations. Smoke pot. Get drunk. Flirt. Don’t be like me and assume that you have to act a certain way to get a certain thing that you don’t even know you want in the first place. In a few decades you are going to die, and when you look back on your life, you’re either going to say, “I had a lot of fun!” or you’re going to say, “I didn’t do shit.” Which one would you prefer?
And Marcia, Marcia, Marcia … if you ever read this, then let me just say for the record that you are gorgeous and I should’ve hung out with you more. Curses!
Maybe I’ll see you next year.
And that was my time at NORML Con.