Chapter 1: Mysterylanding

I craved more. An escape from the 9-5. Work was dull and the alcohol-fueled weekends no longer filled the thrill I desperately sought. I was living on the ridge but wanted to try out the edge. Pride has a way of making you feel invincible.

My natural curiosity and pursuit for happiness led me to an electronic dance music (EDM) festival at the original site of Woodstock, called Mysteryland USA.

At least in my circle of friends, the plan was to camp out, throw a whole concoction of drugs and alcohol into our systems, jam out to great music, and see what happens. It was basically our 3-day-long escapade in the middle of farmland, running away from the hard realities of being grown-ups. Or whatever we thought that meant.

The security line took hours but we eventually made our way in, got assigned to our fine little plot of land, and began to set up our site.

We found ourselves sandwiched between quite the eclectic crew: a band of Irishmen and a posse of shirtless, glittery, muscly men from New Jersey. Our three groups were collectively all 20-something-year-old men, but our backgrounds and lifestyles were startlingly and colorfully varied, glitter and all.

Once we were settled, and exchanged greetings with our weekend neighbors, we hung around the campground snacking, drinking, and eating or smoking weed.

While I had a full bar at home, weed was a rarer treat for me. The first evening, I got—shall we say—a bit excited and ate way too many brownies. No, the secret ingredient in these was not love, it was a whole boatload of cannabis oil. Purely from a taste perspective, I found them really tasty.

A few hours pass.

BOOM. My legs are officially cement blocks. Or just non-existent, I couldn’t really tell. I felt like Gumby finding himself in a pool of molasses and having to admit he cannot swim.

We were listening to an artist who kept teasing the drop. It was a total play on our aural expectations and that plus my stone legs were just too much to handle. My buddy was kind enough to chill with me on the grass nearby as I discovered my legs again like an infant. While it felt more like paranoid levitation, we eventually walked back to our camp.

Well, this was an experience, and the end of day one. We were just getting warmed up though.