I went on quite the adventure yesterday. An adventure I will now tell you about in excruciating detail (you knew what to expect when you followed me).
So this weekend, I attended a music festival where I had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of my favourite bands (65daysofstatic in case you were wondering)one that was instrumental (lol) in my recovery from depression. After the show, I got to meet them and personally thank them for having helped me. But this isn’t about that. This is about what happened after the show.
The venue of the festival was far outside the city and it ran very late. The owners of the venue were nice enough to keep it open for a good while after the festival had ended so everyone could just hang out and relax and mingle with fellow music lovers. It was great stuff. But when the time came to leave, a lot of people were faced with the realisation that there just weren’t any cabs back to the city. All cab apps either started bugging out or all drivers turned into total assholes. Given the warm and kind manner in which this city usually treats its people, I’m guessing it was varying degrees of both.
Anyway soon after, everyone with pre-arranged transport started leaving and a fair number of people (including me) were just stuck there. Just when my situation seemed the bleakest, I spotted a group of people climbing into the back of a pickup van. I quickly ran to it, asked the driver if there was room for one more. The driver gleefully obliged and I hopped into the back of this pickup van with the bunch of total strangers. The van was to give us a ride towards the city, closer to the highway where finding transport would be a lot easier.
On the way, someone said they needed a cigarette, but nobody had one. Someone else said “ask the new guy (that would be me) if he has cigarettes” (I didn’t). These people were all jolly, funny, bright, and warm and they were all having a hell of a lot of fun riding towards the city in the back of this pickup van, basking in the smell of day old cargo and the wind in their hair (because y’know, pickup van). They were talking and laughing and taking selfies and just having a great time overall. It was hard not to enjoy it a little bit myself. For one thing, when I woke up yesterday, there was no way I’d have predicted having to ride in the back of a pickup van with total strangers at like 2:00 AM. Also, good feels are hella contagious.
Yes, I said ‘hella’. Let’s move past it. Okay? Okay.
Anyway, the van dropped us off about twenty minutes closer to the city, in a neighbourhood where most of my fellow passengers apparently lived. Here’s when I realised that all of these people, with the exception of me and one other girl, knew each other and were friends. They were nice enough to wait until that one girl and I got cabs. I promised that if I did get a cab, I’d let some of them ride with me to the nearest open cigarette shop and back before I actually went home. After being bailed on by three cab drivers, I finally managed to get one. The one girl, it turns out, was headed very near where I live so we decided to split the fare. One of the guys from the group rode with us — as promised — to the nearest cigarette shop. I bought him cigarettes, dropped him back to where the others were waiting, and then went home.
The ride back home was spent in absolute silence. I’m sure you can tell since I keep referring to the girl as “that one girl” that we didn’t even exchange names. My stop was before hers, so I gave her what we assumed my half of the fare would be, and we said goodnight. And that was it. I’m almost definitely never going to see these people again.
Why do I think any of this is a story worth telling?
Well, I didn’t at first. But I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole incident. There’s something about it that I just couldn’t get off of my mind until I finally realised what it was.
It was the fact that I climbed into the back of a pickup van with total strangers at 2:00 AM with no notion of it going wrong in any immediately perceivable way. It was the fact that these people, all of whom were friends, welcomed me among them and treated me as one of their own for the next hour or so. It was the fact that these people had absolutely no reason or obligation to give a single solitary fuck about my well being or my reaching home safely, but they still did. And it was the fact that all that time, they talked to me and engaged with me like they’d known me for a long time. Not only were they warm and welcoming and kind, their warmth and kindness was totally effortless.
And here’s the thing. There is a lot of talk on the internet and in magazines and at our familial gatherings about The Millennials and what a bunch of broken entitled apathetic shit-biscuits we are. But what I learned last night, or rather what I always kind of knew but was reinforced last night, was that we’re almost all good people.
Part of what the internet wants you to believe about people my age is true. It’s true that we truly are a broken bunch of people, drowning in depression, boredom, and absolute despair. But if you stop reading condescending magazines for a moment and actually talk to one of us, they will tell you that there is a kind of freedom absolute despair. And within that freedom, there is hope.
So to anyone of any age from anywhere who may be reading this…
We may be a messy, broken bunch, but we know kindness. We may be drowning, but we don’t want you to drown. We trust you and we trust each other and help each other in ways that our elders will probably never know or understand. People my age climb into the back of a pickup van with total strangers, knowing somehow that we’re going to be fine. And we are going to be fine. We just want you to be okay. We want to make sure you’re comfortable and warm and we want to make sure you can get cigarettes when you fancy a smoke.
More than anything, we just want you to get home safe.