My mind wanders a lot, and sometimes I just like to let it go.
Sometimes you just have to — let it run its course, and then get back to the task at hand when you’re done.
I’m 27 years old, and have opinions on everything, so naturally I’m a heavy social media user.
But, my favorite has become Instagram. I love taking photos, and I like keeping up with people and seeing what different experiences they are having — honestly, 90 percent of the accounts I follow are pugs. It’s borderline obsessive.
I love following bands, musicians and photographers, too, and I have one friend who posted photos from this year’s Warped Tour. To explain a little bit about that, the tour, which is sponsored by Vans, features about 50-plus pop punk and metal bands that play on a number of stages throughout the day.
The photos being shared instantly brought me back to my first Warped Tour experience. I was around 16 years old, and the all-day event was in Atlanta.
I don’t remember much of the concert or many of the bands I saw, but I remember the drive there like it was yesterday.
Me and three of my friends — former band mates — crammed into a buddy’s Chevy S10 pickup and drove to Atlanta. My parents wouldn’t let me drive with that many people to Atlanta, but somehow a 17-year-old kid was more mature and more equipped to take the wheel.
These were the days before Google maps or GPS. We couldn’t get directions on our flip phones, so we had our trusty Mapquest printouts and a physical map to get to the venue.
Mapquest had the tendency to be wrong most of the time. It could get you to the general location, but at that time you had to navigate on your own. It was also super inconvenient and borderline dangerous on account of all the reading and driving — not something I’d ever recommend to anyone.
So, we’re in Atlanta — the four of us in a car built for two — and our exit is nearing. Maybe the music is too loud and everyone has lost track of where we are. It happens.
Anyway, traffic downtown had just split off into 12 ½ lanes of traffic — it at least felt that way — and we were in the farthest left-hand lane.
I just so happen to look down at the slip of paper as our exit sign comes into view. It’s now or never.
I alert the driver of the vehicle that he has to get over, and at that time he does what an 17-year-old inexperienced driver would do: he guns it, shifts the wheel to the right and cuts across all lanes of traffic.
You ever have that moment where you and a group of people collectively panic at the exact same moment? That’s what this was.
There was a symphony of car horns that followed, and I looked into the side-view mirror in time to see a few choice hand gestures.
We made it to the concert, though. I got the worst sunburn of my life that day. It was worth it.
I guess if there’s a moral to that story, it’s just try not to let your mind wander if you’re helping a friend navigate downtown Atlanta.