Things I Like About Going To Burning Man This Summer:
It was pretty fun the first time, three years ago. I liked the people we camped with, I liked that we got to use solar panels to power the thing that blew up our air mattresses, I liked wearing fun costumes all week, I liked this one night where me and Patri went out and found this camp that was playing very funny funk music, and we were all dancing around and having a great time. There were lots of times like that. I liked the cellist that played in the main center café for over an hour. I liked the desert. I liked the art.
I also liked that I bellydanced in a ring of fire (I should put that on my resume!) and had my picture in the paper. That would be me with my old long hair and in the velvet bra and with the belly, over there on the right. See how much I love you, that I would link that picture? Note how my coin belt matches my Tevas. This was called “Fire In The Belly” and the person organizing it put out a call for bellydancers, so I went and did it. There was supposed to be a big dragon or something that was supposed to break in through the ring of fire, and the girl who organized it kept screaming in this High Priestess of the Secrets of the Flames voice: “Enteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr The Draaaaaaaaaaaaaagon!” five or six times, and the dragon never entered and that was pretty funny.
We got cheap tickets in Janurary so we don’t have to pay the current exorbitant prices. Yay, cheap tickets.
Our camp this year is called “Beyond Beauty” and will involve giving folks sugar scrubs and manicures and henna designs and stuff like that. One girl that’s going with us that I don’t know very well (I did meet her at the ABL party ) does body painting and so she’s going to do her thing there. As of late I am thinking that I will get a Pacific octopus for my rapidly approaching (well, year-and-a-half-approaching) Thirtieth Birthday Tattoo. I’m planning to have Chryssa paint it on me to see if I like it. That will be fun. We’re also having, for some reason about which I am not very clear, a ballroom dance floor. And of course there’s the Idea Cave, and you know I love that the most. I don’t know if it will be as fun, though, when we don’t know all the people who are using it. Who cares if someone writes “I like to have sex with sheep”…there are 30,000 people at Burning Man, at least a couple of them have to lean that way, right? And we’d have no way to narrow it down. Still and all, I think our little camp is going to be pretty cool. I am planning to get Salon Surprise Barbie and make a little shrine with her in the middle of it or something. Won’t that be precious.
I really dig the no-vending aspect of the week. No buying, no selling, no nothing. It’s weird not to carry your debit card with you, it’s weird, when someone gives you something you need, to just smile and say thank you, or to give them something they need. I don’t much think about the place of money in my life (except to wish I had more of it) but taking even a week off from that is pretty interesting and cool.
I kind of like freaks. I’m not so freaky myself, Fire In The Belly picture notwithstanding, but it’s pretty fun to be around people who are letting their flags fly for only a week. Well, actually, I don’t know, maybe for more than a week. I like the anthropological aspect of it, I guess. And yes, fine, maybe it’s good for me to expand some of my boundaries, being around the freaks. A little. I mean, a very little. Only some slight expansion, over here.
A week’s vacation. Aaah, vacation.
Things I’m Not So Sure About Going To Burning Man This Summer
“Ohh, maaaaaaaaaaaaaan. Okay, check it…I started on some shrooms that my roommate got in Contra Costa county, and those were okay, but then…dude, are you listening? Come on, I’m trying to tell you about my expeeeeeeeerience, dude. Are you paying attention? Okay, where was I? Okay, and then someone was giving out E, and normally I don’t do that, you know, but it’s all about perceeeeeeeeeeeption, you know? Oh, man, it was so great. Can I hug you now?”
I am, as has been exhaustively documented in this journal as well as anecdotally by those who have had the misfortune to go camping with me, a delicate little flower who can only exist happily in a specially controlled environment, which includes a bed, a shower, and preferably some delicious cold beverages. Burning Man? Is in a desert. On a dry lakebed. Covered in playa dust, which clings to everything and gets into everything and gets your feet all gross and cracked and dry (which is where the sugar scrub comes in, thanks very much) and it gets in your cocoa and in your sleeping bag and ugh, everywhere. And of course it’s just sponge baths for the week. There’s no hairwashing or anything. I literally wore my hair in a turban the entire time last year because of my fear of developing dreadlocks. Thank heavens for the short hair this time. But yeah, it’s a weird thing of roughing it with a lot of equipment. You have four crates of marabou feather and toys and glowsticks, but you feel stupid bringing a pillow for some reason. As though you are not really Experiencing it.
I can’t decide if I like to organize things or not. I know I definitely like to make lists, and I am also quite fond of checking things off the lists. This is a pretty big deal though. All our food, water (1.5 gallons per day per person), shelter, abovementioned marabou, pillows if I get to bring a pillow. There are things to buy, things to make, things to pack, things to unpack, things to fix, things to fix again, things to shake the dust off of, things to lose, things to pack back up again which is never quite as fun as packing them the first time, things to stink up the back of the Volvo, things to leave in the Volvo for a day or so when we get back, things to wonder if I left them there on the playa or if maybe someone put them in one of the vans, things to throw away and then feel bad about throwing away, things about which to shake our heads and say, “So what are we going to do about this?” Things to forget when we’re in the middle of Oregon. Things to buy last minute at a convenience store that we could have got much cheaper and better at home. Lots and lots and lots of things.
This wouldn’t be so daunting if Carl weren’t going to be away from the beginning of July (i.e. next week) to the middle of August (i.e. five days before we are supposed to leave). I have to do pretty much all of this myself, while having a houseguest who happens to be my mom and like, a full time job and stuff. My organizational skills, as my performance at said full-time job will indicate, are probably not such that I can pull this off. I am very intimidated by all this.
Oh, and the Volvo. Carl drives a manual Volvo station wagon. While you try to wrap your mind around that astounding fact, please let me tell you that I don’t drive stick and never have and that I’m just fine with that. Oh, except I have driven stick before, in fact, on the way to Burning Man 2000. “Not a success” is a mild way of putting it, is all I have to say. I would give anything to borrow or even rent something like a minivan or a truck or an SUV or even just a regular van…an automatic SUV or truck or van, mini or otherwise, thanks very much…but since you can’t drive once you’re at the festival, it would be renting a car essentially to sit on the playa for five days. Still, though, I really hate driving Carl’s car and have entertained thoughts about whether a Toyota four-door sedan could possibly make it. No, I don’t think it can either.
This article is a little too true, I’m afraid.