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Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Kids Are (Probably) Alright

The following was originally written as a prototype column for "Born Here All My Life", but ultimately, it wasn't right for the overall tone of where I'm going with that.  Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it on its own.


So you’re a college kid who decided to stay in Santa Fe for the summer.  Then all your friends left the first week, you suddenly realized you don’t know anyone in town, and all the time you spent “studying” and “going to class” over the school year has become lonely time now.  

What happened to the dorm parties?  The shenanigans?  Where is everybody?

Your favorite band just announced tour dates and if you’re lucky, they might be coming as close as Red Rocks or the Launchpad or a casino somewhere and you can pay through the nose to go stand around with strangers in a giant amphitheater… alone.  Or you can sit around one of the sticky downtown bars with a 50-year-old drunk guy and sigh over the bumping bass on the empty dance floor.

Remember how you spent the last few nights watching Netflix and  playing video games stoned in your bedroom?  Didn’t you wish there was a some place you could go on a Wednesday night where people your age were just hanging out and drinking and being stupid and passing around joints like it was the 70’s and listening to music made by people who are just like them, traveling the country on barely enough gas money to putter into the next town and set up their amps?

Have I been watching Dazed and Confused too often?  Is this only a delusional dream I have of a relaxed, safe environment where young people of all genders, sexual orientations, and social classes can come together and enjoy good music without the hassles of The Man’s involvement? 

Could be.  Could be repeated applications of Rock and also the occasional Roll have caused my brain to go soft and present my fever dreams as a tangible reality, completely replacing whatever dangerous situation I was likely involved in last night with visions of a post-adolescent Eutopia called “Pink Haus”.

Because what I remember is meeting a band from New Jersey.  Two bands, in fact, though they played on the same equipment, knew all of one another’s songs and had, allegedly, seen one another’s dicks.  They were touring the country together.  One of the bands was breaking up at the end of this tour, and the other was to carry on the torch for them.  I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I would probably have been friends with these kids, had they not claimed to be from the other side of the country, and had they not been obvious figments of my broken, entertainment-starved imagination.

You see there’s no way I was at a thriving, yet mellow, joyous celebration in a residential neighborhood in Santa Fe on a Wednesday Night in June.  They don’t have those here.  I’ve heard it from many a reliable authority that Santa Fe doesn’t have the youth population to attract a touring band from across the country every week throughout the entire summer.  House parties are a thing of decades gone by.  Nobody has the time to put that shit together!  We’re serious people who do serious things with our social media!  Big brother is watching, and the kids have nowhere left to misbehave!

I’m sorry, stranded college kid.  I just don’t see any hope.  There’s no point in trying to ask your friends and see if their friends know my friends and if my friends will be your friends.  Facebook doesn’t know these things.  It’s a tool with which to sell you things, not one you can turn to your advantage. 

There was totally not the sweetest party I’ve been to in years just down the block from your house the other night, because I’m a sick person, and whatever that Jersey kid slipped into my drink before making out with his drummer clearly sent me right over the narrow edge of reason.