truth is weirder than fiction

There is a list that gets emailed around every couple of years titled something like this:

How To Enjoy The Burning Man Experience From The Comfort Of Your Own Home

It contains far more truth than fantasy.

***Stack all your fans in one corner of the living room. Put on your most fabulous outfit. Turn the fans on full blast. Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them***

Will I miss the blowing dust and heat this year? Probably I will, strange as that might sound to ‘normal’ people. The choice to take a year off is hard to stick with, and had the tickets not sold out, had the permitted limit of 50,000 participants not been reached, I’m pretty sure I’d have given in. And yes, as you’ll see if you read further in this blog, that’s exactly what I did. I bought a ticket four days before the gates opened.

It is also worth noting that cleaning your gear and the inside of your vehicle after Burning Man is much like cleaning your living room after you attack it with the fan-vacuum bag combo.

***Go to a museum. Find one of Salvador Dali’s more disturbing, but beautiful paintings. Climb inside it***

Truth. Truth because of the astonishing creativity the event attracts and because spending a week on the playa in the dust and the heat is mind altering. Sure lots of people add to that surreality with substances, but honestly there is no need to do that. The playa environment itself is surreal.

Reality and hallucination merge out on the flat, pale beige playa.  Being enveloped by a sudden dust storm  removes all sense of direction and position.  Wildly creative art installations appear out of the dust.  Dali would have loved Burning Man.

***Walk around your neighborhood and knock on doors until someone offers you cocktails and dinner***

Well, the social norms at Burning Man are a bit different from those in any other city you’ve been in.  You probably wouldn’t do this at home, but you just might do it at Burning Man.  Seriously.

***Have a 3 a.m. soul baring conversation with a drag nun in platforms, a crocodile and Bugs Bunny. Be unable to tell if you’re hallucinating. Lust after Bugs Bunny***

yeah.  this could happen.

***Spend a whole year rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect, most outrageous costume. Forget to pack it***

People spend a lot of time and thought on the preparations.

***“Downsize” last year’s camp by adding two geodesic domes, a new sound system, art car, and 20 newbies***

They do get just a little bit carried away.

***Make a list of all the things you’ll do different next year. Never look at it***

I wish this didn’t sound so dratted familiar.  Another truth.

Some of the other realities of life in Black Rock City:
***Before eating any food, drop it in a sandbox and lick a battery***

***Only use the toilet in a house that is at least 3 blocks away. Drain all the water from the toilet. Only flush it every 3 days. Hide all the toilet paper***

This is one area where I’ve seen some change over my five years.  The portapotties are  cleaned every morning and restocked at the same time with tp, then restocked again later in the day.  I think the pumping truck drivers gave the organization an earful over all the paper towels and handiwipes that were clogging up their equipment. By providing adequate toilet paper, there’s no longer a need for people to use whatever they can find in their pockets.  The three blocks away part is still correct.

***Set up a DJ system downwind of a three alarm fire. Play a short loop of drum’n’bass until the embers are cold***
***Listen to music you hate for 168 hours straight, or until you think you are going to scream. Scream. Realize you’ll love the music for the rest of your life***

Truth. Inexplicable, perhaps, but true. I arrived at my first Burning Man with an mp3 player and at the beginning used it to drown out the ever present techno loops. As the days passed, I quit using it. The loudest venues are located at the edges of the city, and mobile raves move out to Deep Playa at night. All night long the beat continues, distant but constant. At the end of my first Burning Man, when the city began to empty and the music grew dim and then silent, I missed it. The heartbeat of the city had stopped. Now I find that I open my car windows and doors at night to let the music in.

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3 Responses to truth is weirder than fiction

  1. jody says:

    Loved this. Never been, but you sure do paint a wonderful picture. Thanks.

  2. Love your descriptions!!!

    Thank you for your humor too!!!

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