It’s dusk at Pickathon, the Oregon summer music festival famous for turning even the most uptight attendees into short-term hippies. A friend passes me his pipe. I haven’t smoked pot in years. When I smoke, I’m prone to paralyzing, near-hallucinatory panic attacks. But out here, surrounded by friends, with performer Neko Case’s voice drifting from the stage through our campsite, smoking seems like the thing to do. I take a hit.
Forty-five minutes later, I’m still frozen in my chair. On stage, Neko Case is riffing about having a baby made of butter. “My little butter boat,” she says. “My little butter boat baby.” Everyone laughs. I have no idea what’s going on. Eventually I crawl into my tent, and spend the next several hours locked into an endlessly regenerating spiral of anxiety and self-loathing.
Photo by Pat Moran.