I don’t do lines.  I don’t mean that statement in the context of the decadent 80’s either. I mean if I am heading to a favorite eating establishment and there is a line of people waiting to get in or be served, I will immediately decide to go somewhere else.  This also holds true for movie theaters, doctors’ offices and grocery stores.

   There is something about standing in a line of people that makes me feel very uncomfortable. The feelings get even worse when I am in a crowd of people.  Funny thing is, I wasn’t born that way. I remember feeling just the opposite when I was a teenager. I used to feel excited going to the county fair and being surrounded by others. I used to find crowds of people to be very exciting and someplace I wanted to be.

I can almost remember exactly when my mind changed about crowds and lines of people. In the college town where I work, Halloween used to one huge party that sometimes went on for three or four days. Young people from out of town would come by the thousands to party in Chico. It started getting very rowdy and many young males would come into town just to cause chaos. What started as a really cool tradition, where families could go out at night and look at all the local college kids dressed up in amazing costumes, turned into a night where out of town police officers would be hired to patrol the town and sharpshooters would be on top of the buildings. Of course this didn’t happen overnight, it took years for it to morph into chaos. One night I was walking among the costumes, I realized I didn’t know who was really behind those masks and what their intentions might be…and I no longer liked crowds.

Maybe it is both the masks and the lack of them that makes me now so line-o-phobic. People wearing masks that hides their humanity and other who you wished might put on a mask of kindness to cover up their humanity. Not sure. Maybe it is just all about my own attitudes. 

This weekend is the start of the big Coachella music festival in Southern California, out in the desert. Thousands of people with lots of money travel there and they stand in lines to listen to their favorite bands and artists. I have spent quite of bit of time in that area helping kids from a low income background get into college. If you want to see what the potential of capitalism without a conscience looks like, go to the eastern side of the Coachella Valley, opposite of Palm Springs. Here many, many folks work so hard and make so little. It is the land of the Haves and the Have Nots. Right in the middle of that land, the rich people come and stand in line at the Coachella Music Festival and give nothing back to the local poor communities except monstrous traffic jams.  I think as I continue to make my own music, subconsciously I have been trying to make it something that nobody has to stand in line for. ‘Hear’ it is. No line required. 

You can divide America into several binary categories- those who think the Three Stooges are not funny, and those who do (which is closely correlated to those who think a fart is not funny and those who do) those who like Miracle Whip and those who like Best Foods mayonnaise, those who constantly play video games and those who don’t get a thrill from it, and those who enjoy being in a line of people and those who don’t. With all those categories, I am in agreement with the 2nd option. Farts are really funny, lines are not.