Why I Hate Ravinia

It’s time I spoke up.

It’s time I pulled together all the guts and determination within every fiber of my being to speak the Truth, regardless of the consequences.

I Hate Ravinia!

No shit, I really do.

Now, many of you are probably staring at these words in abject horror.

“How can this be”, you think.

“Surely, he jests”, you tell yourself.

Nope, no joke. I really hate it. And do you know what I hate even more?

Those so-called “friends” who drag you there.

I realize that on the North Shore this amounts to heresy. I have little doubt that at some point an angry mob will form outside my home with pitchforks and torches yelling, “Burn the Witch!”

But, yet, I must speak out.

Have you ever gone to Ravinia? Did you really enjoy it, or do you just say that because you wanted to be part of the crowd? What if they all did heroin and jumped off a cliff? Would you still follow them then?

There may be some of you that have never been to Ravinia. Consider yourself blessed. Let me tell you what it’s like.

It always begins innocently with friends saying, “Hey, let’s go to Ravinia! There’s a group of really old men singing songs we listened to when we were 12! It’ll be great!”

They then try to up the ante by saying, “We will get there early and have a picnic! And, we have a friend who lives nearby, so it’s super convenient!”

But in reality, this is how the evening goes:

TRAFFIC: Your musical odyssey begins with you sitting in traffic for an hour, trying to go 5 miles. It doesn’t matter that you left at 5 AM for the 7:30 PM concert, everyone already left before you.

“We should have left earlier”, some genius usually says. Everyone nods, but then distract themselves by saying how much fun it’s going to be!

THE GREAT SPOT: Yes, that friend lives a mere three blocks from the gates of Ravinia! Isn’t this convenient?

No, not when we are dragging tables, chairs, coolers, blankets, looking like a rag tag group of refugees fleeing a war zone. Through the maze of streets you go, along with tens of thousands of others, who somehow also have “friends that live close”.

THE GATE: It says “Ravinia”, but it should say, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here!”

You stand in a long line, regardless how early you came, because, guess what? You can’t get in until a certain time anyway.

Great! I love standing in lines for hours. What fun!

THE CEREMONY OF THE BLANKET PLACEMENT: This is apparently a ritual that goes back millennia. It requires the Shaman of the group to choose “the best spot”. Once said spot is found (Usually found by studying the entrails of a slaughtered chicken.) the blanket is laid out.

“Wow”, you think. “This is a nice spacious area.” This may be OK after all.”

HA! You Fool!

Within a few minutes, others, clearly having studied the same entrails you carelessly discarded, decide to come to the same place. Soon, you are hemmed in on all sides.

FOOD AND DRINK: OK, so you’re here with your friends, and now the picnic is laid out. Snacks, drinks, food, most of which I brought and had to drag for miles, when I could be enjoying them in front of my TV.

And here’s the other problem. I eat massive quantities at a speed that would frighten small children. So, within the first 15 minutes of the food coming out, I’ve had snacks, dinner, desert, and a bunch of booze.

Too bad the show doesn’t start for another 2 hours.

THE TREACHEROUS PATH TO THE BATHROOM: For some reasons, my friends will not let me just pee into those red solo cups, so I am forced to go to the bathroom.

Now, let me lay out the scenario for you: It’s dark, and every square inch of lawn is covered with blankets, upon which people sit, eating and drinking.

That means your Odyssey consists of daintily stepping on other people’s blankets, yet avoiding stepping on them, or their meal. This, mind you, is occurring in near complete darkness. The best part is after you have relieved yourself, you get to do it again!

I have always debated if it’s better to come back right away, so these annoyed people can burn your image into their memory, or should I wait, and hope they’ve forgotten me?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because after 6 beers, you’ll see more of these people than you do your own family.

And don’t try to go a different way. You will be lost for all eternity.

THE CONCERT: OMG! It’s starting!

Yes, the show begins. Yet, you cannot see the performers because they are in “The Pavilion”, a place of awe and mystery, reserved for stupid, rich people who feel it necessary to pay even more for this experience.

That’s Ok, I just want to hear those famous songs.

Wait, what the hell is this? NEW songs? What do you mean, NEW songs?

They sound like something you thought up while getting a colonic for your constipation! I want to hear the songs I used to get laid by, you doddering, old fools!

So, you sit there listening to this concert on these little tinny speakers scattered for the Hoi Polloi to enjoy. Songs you’ve never heard before, and will never hear again.

THE ELEMENTS: Did I mention you are outside? Yes, you are on the lawn outside.

Most refugee camps are outside, too.

That means sitting there with blankets pulled around you, because, even though it’s July, it happens to be freezing in Chicago.

On the other hand, I have a much deeper appreciation of what it’s like to be homeless, because that’s how I feel for the next 2 hours.

If it rains, it just makes the experience so much richer.

THE JOURNEY HOME: Tired, so very tired.

It is 10:30 PM, I should have been in bed an hour ago. I’m drunk and I have to pee, again.

But, no rest for the wicked. It is now time for the Bataan Death March back to the car, hauling all your crap, which I just wanted to leave and buy new.

Into the car, and then, you sit, once again, taking an hour to go five miles.

Finally, with tears in your eyes, you arrive home.

You say your good-byes, anxious to get to bed, and then some jag off says, “That was a blast! Let’s do it again sometime!”

Death is too good for those people.

So, please, for the love of God, if someone says that Ravinia is fun-Stay Skeptical!

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