Yup. I'm sure we all know exactly what she's talking about.
I realize that January is rapidly approaching its end, but I would be remiss if I did not at least officially say, Happy New Year! I have been writing quite a lot, but falling short of posting it on my blog. Every time I polish up a piece to publish, at the last minute I think… meh. Who cares? And then I just don’t publish it. But rest assured, I have been happily writing away.
Anyhowz, my trip to Ecuador was great and resplendent with sloth. I read so many books, took long hikes up steep hillsides, and spent more hours asleep than awake. Now I am back to the Polar vortex, sew sew sewing away. It actually feels good to be sewing again.
Tonight we had a crazy marathon photoshoot – the first of the year. Mason and I photographed 45 hoodies and dresses. Uggggghh. The photoshoots are always so difficult for me. I am not a good model. I never make it though without tears. It always makes me feel deranged and stressed, which causes me to look even crappier than usual, and sets off this self-fulfilling prophesy of deterioration. When you look at the photos in order, it is like a flip book of my downward spiral. By the end my eyes are so squinty with allergies, and my already messy hair has revolted in painful, unflattering ways.
Here is a stop motion video we made last year of a photoshoot, so you can watch me fall apart:
The only thing that kept me together in the photoshoot was the fact that I was listening to the Grateful Dead. For me, the Dead always have the ability to transport me to a happy place.
Apparently listening to twelve straight hours of the Dead does not have the same effect on Mason. The instant the last photo was taken, he lunged toward the stereo with uncharacteristic speed and turned the power off with a gasp of relief. As though he had just patiently suffered through some irrational character defect of mine. I was like, “What? You can’t make it til the end of Shakedown Street??” Gah! I guess some people don’t have the Grateful Dead gene.
Joke: What did the Deadhead say when he ran out of Drugs?
Answer: “Whoa, they were right. This music really does suck”
Not everyone speaks Grateful Dead… But I bet some of you do, right? I think of it kind of like Esperanto, but without William Shatner. Speaking Deadhead is a skill that is basically inapplicable to any other field of life, but when you recognize a fellow speaker, you are flooded with a sense of understanding that is so lovely that you are willing to shrug off the fact most people will never really get it. In Malcolm Gladwell terms, I must be a Grateful Dead Genius by now.
Just in case you are from another country and unfamiliar with the whole Grateful Dead phenomenon – they are a band from the 60’s counter culture that became a carnivalesque phenomenon for decades. Thousands of people followed them around the country like gypsies. If I really tried to explain, it would take way too long. Then I would just give up and delete everything I wrote. Just imagine a giant, traveling festival party with a lot of colorful mayhem, drugs and music. Wow, that description sucks.
Did you ever feel like this too? I went to my first Deadshow at age 15, and couldn’t get enough. It was the first time in my little freak life that I ever felt like I found my tribe. I was basically exactly like the chubby little bumblebee girl in the Blind Melon video.
By the time Jerry Garcia, the lead singer, died in 1995 I had been to about 200 shows and crossed the United States more times that I can count. Dead Tour was my marvelous coming of age. I know that we Deadheads catch a lot of flack for several well deserved stereotypes, mostly involving poor hygiene (Where do you hide money from a Deadhead? Under the soap!) and excessive drug use (What do you call a Deadhead in a suit? A defendant!) (I’ll be here all week folks!) Please let me stand as evidence that we weren’t all on drugs! Til this day I have still never even smoked pot… Sometimes I find that people want to discredit Deadheads as a bunch of druggies, and I always feel compelled to point out that the drugs had nothing to do with it for many of us. (And even if it did, who are you to judge?) Never the less, we are easy, cheesy targets.
These days I run with a crowd of artists and indie rock snobs that are far too cool to give the Dead any props. When I tell people I followed the Dead, it is the same sort of confession as showing them a yearbook photo from the 80s if you had massive sprayed out hair and shoulder pads. But I will always stick up for my roots! My time following the Dead made me who I am, and I will always be proud of those years on the road and all that it taught me about magic and community.
Over the years lot of folks have asked why I didn’t name a collection of coats after Grateful Dead songs. I always hesitated to do that for a couple of reason. First of all, it makes me roll me eyes, because Deadheads name everything after Dead songs. It’s too easy. I live near the town of New Paltz, NY and I swear – you drive down the main street and literally half the stores are names after Dead tunes. As if when you become a Deadhead, them make you sign some sort of contract that you can no longer think up your own original names for stuff. Gah… (Oh my god, how many of you have I just offended because your Etsy shops are named after Dead lyrics? Haha. Woopsy. I love you!)
The other reason I never wanted to name stuff after Dead tunes is because they are so damn personal. Almost every song is so embroidered with anecdotes that I hesitated to toss them about casually. In fact, all of this is hard to write about because I have to hold so much back or risk being completely incontinent with my nostalgia. The songs have too much of a spell on me to be careless with them. Plus, I know someday I would need the names to come to me rescue in a pinch.