Saturday, June 20, 2009

Greek Fest

Yesterday I went to Saginaw's annual Greek Fest, held at the Greek Orthodox church not too far from where I live. I have to say it was a little surreal at first, being among the crowds of people there for the beer (at a church too). I, on the other hand, was there to see a friend who would be dancing on stage at 8:30.

I was a little afraid that I wouldn't see anybody I knew, but I should have known that that would be impossible. Less than three minutes after I entered, I fortuitously met my friend Adam who I was actually going to see next week after not having seen him for over two years. He was leaving for a five-year tour with the Navy in less than two months, and I made sure to see him before he left. Adam was with Drew, a year younger than us, who I had not seen since high school. Amidst the throng of unnaturally tanned girls and beer-guzzling former frat boys, I didn't see anyone else I knew, but Adam and Drew seemingly could pick out every guy there who's played baseball within a 20 mile radius of Saginaw... which makes sense, I suppose, if you've been playing baseball throughout high school and college.

For them, it was like a bad high school reunion. As my friend on stage started dancing with the other kids to loud, incomprehensible Greek music, there was the former baseball teammate not seen in years, the old friend in high school they never spoke to again, the guy who dropped out of college and works at Subway now, the girl who's had two kids already.

Adam and Drew wanted a beer, and so we headed to the gyro tent, but then Drew quickly discovered he couldn't find his driver's license. He couldn't buy a beer anymore, but that wasn't the point -- "I'm so pissed! I never lose anything!" We scavenged the grounds and interviewed the workers and even explored the porta-potties, but all in vain.

Finally, Drew realized, perhaps he hadn't lost his ID after all; maybe it fell out of his pocket in Adam's car. Unfortunately, Adam foolishly parked the car a mile away at a friend's house, but luckily for Drew, I had taken advantage of free parking behind the church and volunteered to take him to Adam's car. Along the way Drew and I chatted briefly about my lack of a future and Drew's busy summer with work and school and baseball. We reached the car, and though we found two plates, a fork, an old McDonald's bag, a few T-shirts, and several dollars in change, we could not find his ID, so we headed back.

Eventually, my friend who I had originally come to see finished the last step of his dance and departed the stage. We paid no attention, though, and paid for our lack of attention with a string of text messages -- "left of stage" -- "our left or your left?" -- "near the tables" -- "which tables?" -- but at last we found him, left of the stage near the tables. We talked for ten or fifteen minutes and he resolved that we would soon hang out, but knowing him, that probably won't happen anytime soon.

The festival swelled with people as the night went on, even though lightning was flashing now and a small drizzle dampened the grounds. Adam had been texting a girl the entire time and hoped to meet up with her soon, but to no avail; earlier she said she was near the porta-potties, but we didn't find her, now she said she was waiting at the entrance, but we were waiting at the entrance too and couldn't see her. At least she hadn't given up yet.

As the rain began to fall harder, we took to the roofed entrance to the church and sat on the steps, watching the people of Saginaw scurry by. Adam still hoped to see this elusive girl, but we were less sanguine. A group of people we knew passed by and stopped to say hi. One of them invited us to come over to their house and get trashed because, you know, there's nothing else to do. We politely told him maybe.

When it became midnight and the music stopped, God forgave our transgressions and ended the rain. I realized suddenly that there was more than one entrance to the festival, and we quickly walked to the other side. There it was, next to the porta-potties was the other entrance, the entrance Adam's girl had been waiting at. By now though it was too late. The girl and the opportunity were both gone.

We walked slowly across the grounds through the minefield of puddles and tossed beer cups. The quiet drizzle returned. Unwilling to let them walk a mile in the rain, I told Adam and Drew to get into my car. I drove them back to their car and we said our goodbyes. I don't know if I'll ever see them again.

No comments: