Volunteering at Seattle Hempfest was a win and a fail for me.
For two months all I have been looking forward to was Seattle Hempfest. A day for pot about weed, on marijuana. The plan was to volunteer while listening to music and handing out water or whatever to dirty little hippies and juggalos.
For two months I planned on doing this, volunteering. I tried signing up via the internet ahead of time but there was some sort of e-mail registration failure, so I e-mailed a coordinator who told me where to report. This was to be my Christmas, counting down the days, unable to rest the closer it got, sugar plums and all, dancing in my head.
This would be my marijuana moment, my time to shine with people of mutual sentiment, rub elbows with you will and make contacts (this was how you did things before social networking). There were two speakers I was looking forward to; Ed Rosenthal and Jodie Emery, other than that I would be there for the cause. It would be like church and this is my mecca (yes, I mixed religions on purpose). .
Volunteering at Seattle Hempfest was going to be an epic day for yours truly. It’s hard for me to just get out of the house. Shit like this I have to plan for in advance, now days gotta mark that date on a calendar - I remember before kids and responsibility I would go on a moment’s notice to things like this, now its two months in advance.
I was looking forward to meeting members of NORML and all of the other movements that were going to be representing here - If I got real lucky maybe one of the speakers. Volunteering is backdoor goodness to the world. Volunteering and donating are my ways of fighting the good fight.
The 3 day event started on Friday but unfortunately I had to work than and trust me you don’t want to contend with the Seattle busy traffic ( Imagine a snail and a turtle fucking and that’s about right). So I planned on Saturday morning to be whatever Hempfest needed.
Friday night as my excitement grew I got shit from my cousin and wife, “glad to see you’re volunteering for a good charity” was said with sarcasm but the truth is I was volunteering for the cause. The illegalization of marijuana is one of those things that does more harm than good, I honestly believe it is the healing of the nation but this is preaching to the choir here.
I woke up at 6:30 am ready for the world. Arrived in Seattle about 7 but I had to park about a mile away from the park entrance (there’s never any parking in Seattle). On the way to the entrance I noticed cars with plates from out of state and people sleeping in them. Little pick-ups packed with people sleeping in the cabin and bed, some people were just sleeping on the sidewalk next to their car. At the entrance were several dudes with walkie-talkies and volunteer shirts, I knew I was at the right place. I was told volunteers were to sign-in at the Operations tent, located in the middle of the park. Along the path were flyers for dispensaries, doctors, places where you could buy your goods and one particular granola bar that probably wasn’t that good since there was a ton of them thrown on the floor. The park was empty minus the occasional jogger or shopkeeper setting up — it was nice.
Walking around I was a kid in a candy store, it was backstage passes to any good show. People were cleaning up and setting up. I walked up to the operations tent and nobody with any juice was there but the volunteers present showed me a sign that said “No more walk-ins”. My moment was crushed.
I felt that morning heat from the rising sun beam on me at that moment, bummer but it still felt good to try. The fact that enough people showed up to turn away people made me feel good. So I decided to make the best of it and walk around. Everybody was there Chronic Candy, some lollipop vendor, vegan food - it was a wonderful hippy stereotype. Rastafarians, stereo typical Asian shop owners (not there for the ‘cause but for profit but who cares, they’re the Wal-marts of weed paraphernalia), and other shop owners were out and about. Let’s face it the marijuana movement isn’t and hasn’t always been about goodness and god — though that’s why I like it. There are even dissenting views on how to make it legal because everyone has a financial plan which always make it that much more closer.
I walked and enjoyed the sun in a park on marijuana day. Along the way I saw a struggling volunteer helping a distressed lady, so figured I’d ask if they needed help. She was some sort of medicine lady that reminded me of my crazy earth mother aunt, we all know and love that someone (or maybe you are that one). She was relocating and upset that the day prior her prayer circle was violated and broken. I’m not one for believing in that kind of shit (unless I’m really really high) but I’m down with respecting and accepting, so I understood why she was so upset. They moved her to the far end of the park, on the outskirts of shop owners. I helped them cart her stuff.
After we arrived to the medicine lady’s spot I made my way out - Again absorbing all the shops and people around. The line that was building immediately outside the park was awesome. People with fat spliffs were smoking while waiting. On my way back people were getting up. It was 8 am and shit was happening.
After I left the lady I’m sure I could of muddled around. Maybe help somebody else. As volunteers go I believe I have a lot to offer: an able strong body, technical skills, and the ability to squash a fight if needed plus I was planning on being sober that whole time (or at least I didn’t bring any smoke with me). But instead I decided to do what I preach, be a responsible stoner. Again the biggest defeat, the biggest thing we can do to win this shit is blend in and become one of them. Mr. 9 to 5 and actually I don’t mind. To unconditionally live for something better, something else or someone else.
Instead I went home and everyone was still sleeping. I wanted to be home to live the life I work for besides the not going to jail for some bullshit work I do. I work to pay for a place, to feed people I love, and that occasional peace of mind. Instead of volunteering I did laundry, clean the kitchen, played a little x-box, and was happy for everyone else that got to be there. I failed at volunteering but won in life.