Hopscotch magic, the first: Fletch let me sleep until 10:15 Saturday morning.
This is a first in the 9 months he’s lived with me. 10:15. Usually I drag him out of bed around 6:15 on weekdays, so then he drags me out of bed on weekends, not understanding that weekends are special. He waits until around 7, then gives me a polite and quiet “Mrrrra.” I never respond to this one. I hope that if I lie very, very, still he will give up and go back to sleep. That never works. The second and third ones are, “Mrrraaaaa,” still polite but more authoritative. The we go to, “Ahem. MRAAGH.” If actually jumps off of the bed and starts pacing, I know there will be a nose-poke coming. I can’t resist a nose-poke. Not with that face.
It’s possible that I was soooooo sleepy that I missed all of the please-get-up-now theatrics, but I don’t think so. I think he knew how fragile the situation was, so he chewed on his rope toy on my feet and let me sleep.
Hopscotch magic, the second: So we breathed in the cool morning air at Third Place, and I left with a giant sugary iced coffee drink in hand, and we went to Rebus to hear some gorgeous music by Tender Fruit. We sat in the shade and I drank iced coffee. One of my musical heroines came and took the empty chair beside me and let Fletch snuggle on her, and she is exactly as lovely and amazing as I thought she’d be. Hopscotch Magic again. Boom. Before 12:15 in the morning. I felt like a whole new person, with eight hours of sleep and shade and iced coffee and music.
Hopscotch magic, the third: Then it was more day parties and favorite people. First it was just Tate and PJ and me, and we girl talked over PBRs at the Raleigh Times street party. Then Julia appeared, and Caroline and Chad, then some of my favorite neighbors, and it was so much fun I forgot to leave before Mandolin Orange started. I should explain, I have nothing against Mandolin Orange, but I’ve seen them twice and have not yet understood what the fuss was all about. Both times, though, there were major sound and venue issues. I knew I hadn’t been able to give them a fair shot.
Ohhhhh I get it now. They would have blown the roof off the party, had there been any roof. I loved every bit of it. I take back my neutrality. They were amazing today. I’m sure they were always amazing.
Hopscotch magic, the fourth: Then I turned around and my friend Geoffrey was standing beside me, and I’m like, “Hey, Geoffrey.” and then, “GEOFFREY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN RALEIGH?” because he does not live here, has not lived her for years, and in fact is off Making the World A Better Place doing a Very Impressive and Prestigious Architectural Fellowship. But it’s just like him to sort of sidle into a conversation like that. So, you know. More Hopscotch Magic. It’s back. For real.
Hopscotch magic, the fifth: I walked home to get Dawg, and it happened to be one minute before Centro opened. Guacamole and salsa for dinner on my porch with the drone of cicadas in the background. Yesterdays wrong’s righted.
Hopscotch magic, all the rest: I walked back downtown to meet my people, and tonight everything fell into place just like Hopscotch is supposed to. I had an easy, easy plan, and it was something like Tir Na Nog- Pour House- Tir Na Nog- Pour House, and if you haven’t been here, those venues are about ten seconds apart on foot. It was all going to be sort of low-key Americana, and after last night I thought the path of least resistance would be a good thing.
I threw that plan out and ended up going Tir Na Nog-Pour House-Longview-Berkeley-hot dog-Tir Na Nog-Deep South-Berkeley-Tir Na Nog. Those venues are all over the freakin’ map. So was the music. (Look at me! Being open minded! Throwing out my plan!)
Hopscotch, y’all. Half the fun is the surprises. And the insane on-foot travel, and people-watching as you race back and forth, and juuuuust making it into a show before it hits capacity and they start the one-in-one-out thing, and taking wrong turns and running smack into your friends again.
And it was a great time. I didn’t see anything last night that changed my world; there wasn’t the dancing-on-top-of-the-bar at midnight experience I had last year at Shovels and Rope, but I saw a lot of raucous rock and roll and finished the night with Kopecky Family Band, and then I snuck out while it was still going strong. I believe in knowing when to leave a party.
I checked my pedometer: 24 miles on foot since Thursday. And 33 bands. And a lot of gorgeous Carolina sunshine and cool night breezes and favorite people. Till next year, Hopscotch. Sorry I doubted you for a minute there. I didn’t need to go trying to find something we’d never lost to begin with.
Not leaving my porch today. Someone please come bring me more coffee.