My First Time Rolling
It was the summer before senior year of high school. I was feeling particularly happy to be alive as I hopped off the L train to Brooklyn. Just me and my girl, Ryan. She; in a strappy, sparkly red dress and I; in some other assortment of colorful vintage clothes. Looking back, my exclusively black wardrobe now wouldn’t dare let it sit the same closet. Walking out of the subway, we entered a strange place that was rapidly becoming gentrified with mysteriously rich millennials. I loved it. Each of the storefronts seemed as if they were carefully curated for my own interests. We popped in a bodega to grab a pack of cigarettes we figured would be much needed for our upcoming day. Fourteen dollars and some change for a pack of Camel Blues. Yikes. It was 2013 and Williamsburg was coming up fast. So naturally, they decided to host the most common gathering of hip, obnoxious, overzealous young people - a music festival. It was Mad Decent Block Party Brooklyn 2013 and it was free for the very last time.
The line for the event wrapped around the corner with scantly clad youth. Ryan and I met up with some friends who, regardless of it being 11am, desperately chugged warm vodka from water bottles to avoid paying for seven dollar beers. That is, if they could even find a willing patron to buy beers. We were hardly eighteen and these places tended to be strict. Hiring security that relentlessly hate the event, they represent was not uncommon, and these types of workers have no qualms with throwing a kid out on the street.
Regardless, I passed up on the offers of warm vodka because I was holding out for something seemingly better – my first time with Molly. It was all part of the plan; we would get in there, reserve energy throughout the day, hydrate, and schematically have the molly kick in for the closing act – Major Lazer. The venue was a giant playground. Or at least it felt like one with it’s blue concrete ground, surrounded by a chain link fence, and a ridiculous dancing taco on stage. Throughout the day we would periodically enter the crowd by the stage to see acts that were of somewhat importance to us, like DJ Sliink. We remained seated in any blip of shade we could find during lesser acts like Matt & Kim. We knew what we came for and that was to “roll face” during Major Lazer. We didn’t even know what rolling face meant.
We began to get the first time jitters. As we held the capsules in our hand, some friends backed out while some sipped four dollar water bottles to prepare. I was a quiet mixture of nervousness and excitement. The closing headlines were approaching and we figured we better secure a spot in the crowd. As we approached the stage, Ryan decided she’d rather get some beer. My older cousin, who we’d ran into, agreed to help her buy it as Ryan lacked the 21+ wristband. This is what ultimately got her caught by security during Flosstradamus’s set. We practically saw her being dragged out, but being in the front of a concert waiting for an unknown drug to hit implies a certain level of justified selfishness. Knowing our friend was being left in Williamsburg alone at night, we did nothing but share looks of slight remorse and kept dancing. The crowd was bumping and we couldn’t leave now – we were too deep in it. Another friend’s mom called and demanded she get on a train home now. She asked if any of us would ago with her. We just looked at each other thinking, another one bites the dust. Selfish teenage girls. Was it an effect of the allure of live music and mood altering drugs? Or was it simply a youthful flaw? Either way, we weren’t thinking anything of it, we were simply having a great time and awaiting our savior ; Major Lazer.
The sun was setting and the sky was becoming grey. Soon enough, I saw that sparkly red dress in my vision again. Ryan had done the one thing we were great at as kids, swindling our way in. She quickly forgave us for not thinking twice about her absence. The clouds above the stage were rapidly becoming quite daunting and we could see the storm rolling in. Instead of the promised Major Lazer, a man came out with devastating news. Due to the impending weather conditions, a DJ set would be playing at a 21+ venue around the corner for a small price.
The crowd was not pleased. “FUCK THAT SHIT!” They chanted for what felt like twenty minutes straight. Only it couldn’t of been that long because sure enough the sky cracked open in a rage and Sheets of rain came down. As we made our way in a mob to the gates, the molly kicked in. We didn’t know quite where to go and instead we tried to linger away from the overwhelming masses of people flooding the streets. As me and my remaining friends darted across the street I heard an old lady inquire, “What’s going on, everybody’s naked?”
I had no time to laugh at this as I was in a complete state of sensory overload. Me and my best friends, running barefoot through the streets of Brooklyn, gaining a true understanding of what it meant to be “rolling face.” The downpour lasted quite some time, and somehow, through the midst and hysteria of it all, one of us realized a vital part of our group was missing: Annie. Now that the possibility of seeing Major Lazer was out, our selfishness had dissipated and we were back to being loyal friends. Rather than taking our phones out to call her, at risk of permanent water damage, we decided it was a better idea to simply run through the streets yelling, “Where’s Annie?!” I started to forget I didn’t get to see Major Lazer in the flashes of rain and laughter. Our method proved effective and we soon after found Annie and made our way, sopping wet, to Penn Station.
For most that live in the greater metropolis area of NYC, Penn Station is a vital transition point for every experience in the city. We were exiting New York no different than the way we came – Major Lazer-less. But it was bigger than that, we were drenched, our minds were altered, our friendships tested, and we had survived Mad Decent Monsoon 2013.