2010 US Open of Surfing, or, Observations about Stoners

If you’re wondering what I, who don’t own a pair of Converse or anything Fox brand, was doing at the US Open of Surfing, three words: free Weezer concert. Jordan and the friend who invited us are the real Weezer heads, or whatever you call their fan base, but they won my undying love with the video of Island in the Sun. Besides, it was a sunny, 80-degree day and I haven’t been to the beach all year.

There were a lot of people there. We ended up parked a good half a mile away, leaving us a good walk to the actual beach, along with a mob so big the city had turned off its streetlights in acceptance of the pointlessness of any attempt to direct traffic. The street preachers and the Prop 19 supporters were both out in force; you can guess which garnered more support.

We could have soldiered for the front lines upon arriving, but we opted to walk around on the beach instead, catching some BMX stunts, quality sandcastling, and a giant stuffed penguin. Jordan commented “That penguin had better not get a better seat than us,” a moment of fate-tempting I doubt he’ll repeat. It got a better spot than us, of course.

When we’d finally waited through the missable opening act by Hot Hot Heat and the interminable-seeming half-hour wait between acts, Weezer made it all worthwhile. Of course our glimpses of the stage were few and far between, but we could hear fine. Weezer is one of those bands with so many hits that they almost can’t play anything else at a concert lest they leave out a thousand fans’ favorite song; this works because their songs are so eminently sing-along-able. And what line did everyone in the audience know? If you guessed “I’ve got my hash pipe,” you’re correct.

Which brings me to my observation about stoners: They’re fun.

Fact: Smokers are no fun to be around. Even when they aren’t actively spreading carcinogens, they smell disgusting. Yes, I have known cool, awesome people who smoked, but it was definitely a case of despite rather than because of.

Fact: Drunk people are no fun to be around. This may fly in the face of common belief, but it’s true. They can be mildly amusing if you’re well separated from them, such as on a balcony, but mostly they’re just stupid and irritating; depending on the individual and level of drunkenness, they can quickly stray into disgusting and/or dangerous territory, too.

But stoners? Their culture is relaxed and fun-loving; the word “harmless” comes to mind, in part because of the impossibility of killing yourself with marijuana. True, you wouldn’t go to them for an intellectual discussion (though they’re conducive to pseudointellectual ones), but they are amicable company for just hanging out. Despite the obviously high level of enthusiasm, they made subdued moshers–so subdued that we nearly missed “Buddy Holly” by failing to achieve an encore-worthy level of clamor–and were a great crowd to enjoy a concert with.

So am I among the Prop 19 supporters? Not really, except through the sentiment that one should be able to do what one likes unless there is a good reason to the contrary.  With my entrenched personal aversion to drugs, I don’t even imbibe caffeine, so I doubt I would join the celebration.  But neither would I begrudge those who did.

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Disclaimer: I do not know whether any of the people in these pictures are stoners. I didn’t ask.

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