Thursday, September 1, 2016
THE MAN BURNS IN TWO DAYS
I hope all is well with you and that a hundred pounds of dust has not invaded your life. It certainly has my first week at Burning Man.
I’ve been camping at the festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert since last Sunday. Three of us are sharing a rented motor home which is pretty much composed of, now, more dust than metal. Windows are closed but it comes in anyway and sticks to every thing.
My desert feet
It sounds disgusting -and it is- but you kind of get used to eating, breathing, and wearing the stuff. It's either that or leave. Powdered rock becomes a big part of your life here.
Sometimes it’s good. I used to make a mess using talcum powder. Now, when it falls to the floor, who cares? It disappears into the dust that's already there.
The festival has its own police force, volunteers called The Black Rock Ranger. I asked "Ranger Picante" about this dusty dilemma. He let me know, “You’ve got to trust in the dust”.
In the mean time I am trying to be a “burner”. First timers, like me, are called “virgins” or “burgins”. There is a schedule of 200 things to do everyday in this temporary city of 70,000. The listed subjects range form “Singing for Scaredy Cats” to “Bondage 101”. There are some things going on that I can’t write for fear of being arrested when I get back to the real world. Most folks seem somewhat normal, even the naked ones. Most folk, including me, still go for the "clothing' thing. It makes it easier to look fabulous.
I skipped the weird workshops but let me give you a hint of what some can be like... I passed one encampment with a crudely scrawled sign that said it was "The Black Rock City Abortion Clinic". I nodded at he naked man smiling out front. He asked, “May I help you? I am the doctor!”. I said, “No thanks, I'm not even pregnant”. He laughed and said, "It doesn't matter!" I waved and rode faster, leaving him in my... you know.
One of hundreds of "art cars'. Some are a big as houses, brightly lit, rolling parties in the night.
Everyday I volunteer to help put on the Burning Man experience. I came here not knowing anyone so I get to help out, make friends, and learn more about how this improvised, 8-day city operates.
Our "crew" two days ago
One day I am helping to manage a small performance stage and the next, on a lonely late night vigil guarding the huge wooden man that will burn Saturday night.
It’s another world, one which I am both enjoying looking forward to leaving on Tuesday.
Whoops, I see another dust storm coming. Time to bag my pc and put on the goggles and face mask.
Burgins learn to do that quickly.
------------------------------Note: It's a big festival with few internet services. I can't write much here but I will later on. It's a wonder the dust hasn't frozen my keys as I write this. OK, The Man burns in 52 hours at this 24/7 party. Everyone loves a good fire especially when the 90-foot woodwork is wrapped in fireworks!