I'd like to talk about mud. A mixture of water and dirt. Maybe you are thinking-I know mud. I have seen mud, stepped in it, I am familiar with the concept of mud.
Let me tell you something-you don't know mud like I do now, me and the other 100,000 people attending the Austin City Limits festival this weekend.
It rained for two days, so the perfect,soft carpet of grass that I spoke of in my last post, the kind of grass I imagine that Heaven is covered in, was obliterated by a river of mud.
Acres of mud, a sea of brown liquid stretching as far as you could see, being tromped through by 100,000 people who are covered in it like brown chocolate Easter bunnies holding cans of Bud Light. Every step you took you slid dangerously, wobbling along, trying not to fall on your ass. Imagine the viscosity of a thick smoothie, imagine walking through a brown smoothie that came up to your ankles and splashed into your face.
Now I want you to imagine that you are inside a sinking tent, under which hangs 14,000 dollars of dry clean only silk dresses. Every step someone takes into that booth splashes more mud up across these dresses. As you try to move or adjust them, the slippery fabric falls from your hands into the muck. If that happens, the 250 dollar dress must go in the trash. Why not just clean it? You are asking. I will tell you why.
As I walked into the park I surveyed the muddy people lurching around like 100,000 zombies from that movie Dawn of the Dead ( the new one, not the old one-you know when they are leaving the mall and chainsawing zombies arms off? Whatever.)
That was not the first thing I noticed,however. What struck me immediately , burning my nostrils, was the most evil stench I have ever smelled.
"Are the port-a-potties leaking into the mud?" I thought.
No one around me seemed bothered by it. But I thought-well-out of 100,000 people you have to assume that AT LEAST 30% of them are bovine-stupid, so I slid carefully to my booth, thanking God for my rain boots.(Which,by the way, took two hours of thrift store searching to find. Every Academy,Target,Cabellas and Wal Mart was sold out. When I called the operaters laughed at me."Are you looking for rain boots?Ha!"they mocked me."You're the 20th person to call this morning!" DIE, Wal Mart, DIE.)
So I had the last pair of rain boots in the city, which was fortunate because when I say Port A Potty-I want you to call up the worst olfactory experience you have had inside of one. That is what the mud smelled like.
Those who had no rain boots were happily slipping around in bare feet, having mud-fights, the filth splattered all the way up their thighs:billions of microbes invading tiny cuts in their feet.
"Just what in the fuck is going on here?"I asked Emily.
"It's the manure that was under the grass. It's making the whole place smell like a toilet." she said.
"Listen honey, that ain't manure."I told her."I grew up on a farm. I can tell the difference between human shit and manure. That is human shit."
"Sunny, don't be ridiculous,"said Jeff."That's just manure."
"Uh-uh. Cow and horse shit has a clean, farmy smell. What is in that mud smells like a dirty diaper and you know it."
No one was convinced.
Dresses were,miraculously, still selling. If it had a mud splatter I gave them 20% off to cover dry cleaning, and somehow that worked.
A young man came into our booth late in the day. He'd drawn designs on his face with the mud, all around his mouth and eyes like warpaint.
"Can you say Staph Infection?" I asked.
"It's just mud. It's natural, man."
"So are tapeworms. Wipe it off or get out." I handed him a wet wipe and a bottle of Purell, which I'd been bathing in every half an hour.
Let me get something straight here,folks. I am a disgusting person. I will drink after a stranger. I eat my fingernails. I allow glasses of milk to mold in my sewing room. I don't cover my mouth when I sneeze.
So imagine what it would take for a person like that to obsessively rinse every inch of her skin with antibacterial gel multiple times a day.
It didn't matter. We were still covered in it by nightfall. Especially after taking down yards of heavy, 70 year old drapery drenched in sticky mud and fetid water( ruined) pulling giant metal clothing racks out of the muck and hauling them to the car and wrapping up tarps full of mud to cart them into the trash.
As we trudged to our car down the one lane street, carrying baskets loaded with muddy wet merchandise on our aching backs, a security guard sped by in his empty golf cart.
"I'll show you my tits for a ride!"I yelled. Every step sent shooting fire through my legs and feet. I was not kidding about the tits.
He looked at my pink wristband.
"We can't give you guys rides. Only the people with VIP passes. But you need to get out of the street and walk on the side."
"In the MUD?" I asked incredulously."You're fucking crazy if you think I'm doing that buddy."
"I'll report you." He called. I turned around and pointed my finger at him.
"I will end you." I said, and we kept going. Douchebag.
By the car we overheard two security guards talking about how the fertilizer under the grass was made of Dillo Dirt.
I googled Dillo Dirt when I got home.
It's an environmentally "Green" alternative to chemical fertilizer that is often used on lush golf courses.
It's made of treated residential sewage.
It's made of human shit.