New Year’s in Florida

This story comes from my senior year in high school, 1999-2000. A friend and I, being bored and wanting an adventure, decided that we would like to see the band Phish’s New Years’ show.
We drained our savings accounts, bought plane tickets and booked hotels five days before the show began.
How? Well, this was January of 1999 and the Y2K fear was all around. There were not many people traveling so not only did we pull it off, it was cheap too. Round trip tickets and a week of hotels for roughly $400 a piece.
We flew to Orlando with just a duffel bag and some cash on each of us.
Then we realized a huge problem: how were we to get down to the Everglades. Neither of us had a credit card and most places didn’t rent out cars to anyone under the age of 21.
We bummed around Orlando for two days, learning to hate the town more and more as we tried to figure out how to get to the show.
We decided to take a bus (again, a horrible experience). This is where we met the trouble maker. We never got to learn his name, because we didn’t like him.
He was a grubby little man who kept making a scene on and off the bus.
When two people were five minutes late, he wanted us to applaud these two people for making him late.
It was only this little trouble maker making a jerk out of himself.
It got worse when we got to Naples, because we found out the trouble maker was heading to the same concert.
We flagged down a cab who agreed to drive us to the show for $250. The trouble maker freaked out and began yelling at the cab driver.
The more he screamed, the more the taxi fare went up.
So the trouble maker storms off, thinking we are behind him. The cabbie sees this and tells us he would drive us for $75 a piece.
So off to the show we went. It was a three day event that was too hot for my blood.
We realized our second problem when we got there: We didn’t have a tent.
So we took a giant blanket and put our bags under it and after each night, we would sleep on top of the blanket.
The shows were amazing. On New Year’s eve and day, the band played from midnight to 8 a.m. I made it for six of them.
Then another issue: how to make it back to Orlando? We asked a ton of people, none who would help us out.
Finally we found a ride from a big guy driving a compact. As we began our trip back to Orlando, we got stuck in a 16-hour-long traffic jam.
During this odessy, I witnessed two hippies fighting. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. They slapped each other and cried. It was funny to me.
We made it back to Orlando, smelling like pure awful, and crashed out for some time.
It was one of the best shows I’ve experienced.

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