Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Hate Soap

Kyle, Kelsey, and I went to the Treasure Island Music Festival this past Sunday and had an absolutely wonderful time. Clear skies, sunshine, great music, yummy food, and an all around fantastic vibe – sweet! And whoever organized the thing had the awesome idea to make all the beer/soda cups out of compostable plastic. Brilliant!! But what good are compostable cups if they all end up in the trash instead of in a nice compost heap? Right? Enter the genius-ness of the concert planners … Prizes!! They had a stand set up where people could drop off their compostable plastic cups in exchange for snazzy goodies. Bring back 1 cup, get a sticker… 5 cups, a button… 10 cups, CDs or $1 gift certificates… 50 cups, a t-shirt… 100 cups, i-pod speakers… 200 cups, a sweet Dakine backpack… 300 cups, some X-Box stuff… 500 cups, 2 all access passes for Noise Pop. Pretty nice prizes, no? So needless to say, most people were pretty excited to bring their cups back. And some people were pretty excited to run around collecting cups from lazy people/litterbugs in order to cash in on the big prizes. And consequently, there were almost NO cups left lying around on ground, littering the concert. Leave it to greed to save the earth!

Well, anyway, Kyle, Kelsey, and I happened to fall into the run-around-collecting-from-lazy-people group of cup returners. By the end of the day we each had like 100 cups. And we carried them around in a big stack, collecting more and more as we made our way over to cup return prize stand. We were gonna get so many CDs and t-shirts! It was gonna be awesome. So awesome, in fact, that we really didn’t mind that we were carrying around other people’s dirty, used, beer cups. Some had cigarette butts in them, some had lipstick on the rim, some were cracked a bit and leaked warm beer onto our hands, most had been on the ground at one point or another and had dirt caked on the bottom. In hindsight, they were pretty nasty, and I can’t believe we touched them without gloves or a 10-foot pole. But at the time, we were blinded by our lust for prizes our desire to save the earth.

Well, we get to the prize stand, with all our zillion cups, and we’re like “Hi! We would like some prizes, please!” And they were like, “Yeah, sorry, umm… we actually stopped giving out prizes like 15 minutes ago. But, hey, you can totally still compost all those cups and help save the planet!” And we were like, “Oh… good… yay.”


So we deposit our cups in the compost bin and, as our prize-high starts to wear off, we look down at our hands in disgust. Must.Wash.Hands. Well, this concert was in a big field, in the middle of Treasure Island, with no real infrastructure – you know, no sinks and stuff. Luckily, they had set up lots of port-a-potties, with little portable hand wash stations. Score! So we make our way over to the port-a-potties and find 3 wash stations. Each of us works up a good lather with the soap, (which is actually more of a muddy soapy paste than a good lather because our hands were so dirty to start with) and then pushes the little foot pump to start the flow of water to rinse our hands off.

Well, that’s when things got interesting.

It seems that everyone’s mommy and daddy did way too good of a job teaching their kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom. Because, darn it, there was NO WATER left in my wash station! Gah!

I pump with my foot again… nothing… I change wash stations… pump… nothing.

And that’s when I look up and find Kyle and Kelsey doing the exact same thing. Frantic pump… nothing… change stations… frantic pump… nothing… change stations.


The three of us start fighting our way through the crowds looking for other wash stations that might have water left. We hold our soapy, yucky, hands in front of us like surgeons who’ve just scrubbed in for a terribly unsanitary operation. We try 10 more stations – nothing.

We hear “Look! It happened to them too!!” and turn to see a guy being followed by his girlfriend with her hands turned up in the same “Don’t touch anything!” pose and the panicked look of “What do I do?!” on her face.

“Gah!” she shouts at us.

“Gah!!” we shout back and hold up our hands to show her that we understand her pain.

We carry on, trying wash station after wash station without luck, each of us mentally trying to determine who would end up having to stick their hand in their pocket to pull out money so that we could buy a $4 bottle of water to rinse our hands off with. Ick.

Finally, FINALLY, we find a station, all the way at the other end of the field, with water left. Thank goodness. We rinse and are happy concert goers once again.


“Wow. That was terrible.” Kelsey says, “What would we have done if we hadn’t found water? Geez!”

And I thought about for a minute and said, “Yeah, now picture the soap in your eyes instead of on your hands… suddenly the toilet incident makes perfect sense, huh?”

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