The long awaited return of Rage Against The Machine is this very weekend, and (d)N0T is there to catch their first show at Coachella. Joining a crew of miscreants and ne’er-do-wells at a conveniently located HQ, this first on location assignment for the blog bringing Gonzo back to American journalism started with a bang.
Fresh off an hour long plane ride of speed cubing, my Lebanese comrade and I had surprisingly little problem going through airport security. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we bopped down to the baggage claim getting ready for the hour drive to the burning desert where the concert of the year was to be held. Evidently, Majed had made a friend.
“Hey dude, these guys are going to Palm Springs.”
I look to his right and the college couple that were sitting next to him on the flight looked at me with a sort of desperate hopefulness.
“Yeah dude,” Majed declared. “Do you mind if we give them a ride?”
The spirit of punk rock overwhelming my better judgment, I reply, “Sure! That’s where we’re going.”
Charlie and Sarah were biology majors from University of California Santa-Cruz, which should have been my first tipoff. A pair of hippie majors at a hippie school trying to hitch a ride with two complete strangers. Only in California would this ever make sense.
We embark on the journey, quickly procuring the ride that our humble blog could afford. The Chevrolet Impala’s mileage read 2700, but it already looked twenty years old, such was the sad testament to the engineering produced by 21st century Detroit. Immediately we were cracking jokes about the size of its trunk and its capacity to store human bodies. Surprisingly, our hitches did not balk in the slightest.
It takes us an hour and a half to get to an area that looks remotely like Palm Springs, and Charlie begins to pipe up with the directions. We quickly wind our way through the town of 46k, finding ourselves rapidly into the suburb of suburbs. It was at this point that I began to suspect something was awry. I had accepted their request for assistance as I thought they were college kids trying to make the biggest concert of the year on their meager budgets. After all, I was once a college kid who tried desperately to make big ticket concerts on a Ramen budget. However, the neighborhoods that we were approaching did not suggest the sort of budget from which a hitchhiking request would emerge.
“Turn right here.”
“Into the gated community?” I asked.
“Yeah dude,” he said. “This is it.”
It took me quite a few minutes to stop shaking in anger as we dropped him off. This trust fund baby took us 30 minutes out of our way in order to drop him and his hanger-on to his “dad’s place in Palm Springs.” Property they “only owned because of the golf courses.”
Typical California gave way to typical California as we arrived to Coachella right after Day One lets out landing us in the middle of a shitstorm of traffic. It took us an additional two hours to finally get the twelve blocks to the HQ. Fortunately, (d)N0T operative Nate had us fully accomadated in the style we deserve.
Sipping on a Caucasian with my feet propped up next to a jacuzzi comfortably seated next to the sixth hole on The Palms golf course, the day’s adventure already seems an eternity ago. There’s a magic that was once America. I sit now in a place that my grandparents cannot even conceive to hear rock and roll they could never imagine coming from the roots they laid. The majesty of my life shines brighter than the three-quarter moon over a still desert night. 2am on a Friday night on a marble patio surrounded by an impossible paradise it is clear that the American Dream remains alive, if only for the people that want to write about it so.