The theme for this year’s Burning Man was the American Dream. I had high hopes for this year. Every burn, for me, gets better and better. But this one, unfortunately, turned out to be bittersweet. Let me backtrack. Last year, Green Man, was epic. Shooting stars, double rainbows, an eclipse. The stars were aligned. I even got to see the man burn twice. Two for the price of one. And the art last year was genius. Pure genius. While I knew it would be hard to top last year’s burn, I still hoped for the best.
I’m more connected than ever to the BM community. I’ve upped my responsibilities. Recently, I took on the volunteer coordinator role for the art group. I also agreed to be the theme art coordinator for the cafe. Hell, I even have my own burningman.com email address. Burning Man is an important part of my life. I consider my burner friends more like family than anything else. We work together, play together, camp together, care for one another. “Glenda, help! Please tell me you have anti-diarrheal medicine in that pharmacy of a suitcase you brought.” “Honey, don’t forget to bring a face mask. A white out is brewing.” “You sit right there while I get my first aid kit. Here, suck on an Otter Pop.”
I’ve been gone for almost two weeks. So much happened during that time. First, something was awfully wrong with our RV. I don’t know a single thing about automobiles except how to drive my very own Honda Civic so I’m not going to explain this well. But a major bolt supporting the alignment of the tires was missing! When we got to the playa, the guys at the gate said we were lucky to arrive safely. The alignment of our RV was completely off and it could have buckled as we swerved down the mountain passes of Tahoe. Two weeks later, we are still trying to sort out this mess. A flatbed tow truck came to get our RV post-event and I believe it’s currently being evaluated. We were lucky to have friends in another RV who could take us and all of our stuff home. I’m disputing the charges on my Visa as is another friend. We had split the RV expense on our two credit cards. And several days after returning, I’m still trying to sort my life out. I have run out of underwear. Most of my belongings are still in a friend’s garage. I can’t be bothered to retrieve them. Definitely this weekend. I hope to be completely back to normal come Monday morning.
Post-burn, I’m always compelled to slit my wrists. Maybe it’s the drugs or the lack of stimulation or coming back to work. But although this burn wasn’t as eventful as I would have liked, I do have to say I’ve returned in surprisingly upbeat spirits. I’m positive and feel like I have so much going for me. And the weather calls for sunny skies! I guess then, overall, it has been a good experience.
Living in an RV is sheer bliss. You’re shielded from the horrid desert elements: excruciating heat, dust storms that last hours. We actually had beds and bedding. Glenda made tea every morning on the stove. People flock to us during dust storms and we huddle around and eat and drink and drink and drink. A friend commented that BM is one big alcohol cabinet. You are surrounded by it constantly and we happily drink every couple hours. As BM volunteers, we have the privilege of hooking up our RV to a generator for 24/7 air conditioning. We get hot cooked meals at the commissary. We can take hot, running showers at the depot. The perks are to-die-for.
I guess the best thing about this year was the people. I love hanging out with my peeps. We had an amazing, dedicated crew this year. Our camp was a wonderful retreat after working the long shifts that we do. We all have the same temperament, fairly laid-back, all hard-working. The art and supporting the artists is extremely important to us. Then it was back to camp for happy hour, drinking, drinking, and more drinking.
Last year, I hooked up with a fellow ARTery member who blew me off at the end of the event. He said he was in a relationship back home. This year, I unfortunately had to bear my cross as I watched him fall madly, deeply in love with another camp mate. I tried to console myself. “Chin up, Vixen. You are smarter and hotter.” But I couldn’t help but fall in love with her, too! A 26-year-old girl from Madrid with a big smile on her face, always ready to dole out a hug and a helping hand. She was funny, interesting, and had the most adorable accent. Kill me!!! They were perfect for each other and spent the whole week wrapped in each others’ arms.
I had a tough time dealing with the situation, but found comfort with the same ex-flame I had met exactly a year ago. We dated after the burn last year, but drifted apart from one another. Maybe I had expected too much from him. He had just severed a long-term relationship and was looking forward to his single-ness. Anyhow, we connected again this time around. He sought me out and found me at the very same place we had met the prior year. He makes me realize how much I need an affectionate man. I love how he shushes me to sleep and kisses my head as he caresses my back. We’ll see what happens. This morning it was more of the same. Kisses and hugs before he left for work.
I, along with many of my burner friends, considered retiring this year. After seven years, I think it’s time to hang up my playa flip-flops. But after the event, the excitement started up again. “What if we build an art car together?…Next year our camp is going to be the best ever!…Let’s also work on an art project. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
This was my friend Eve’s 10th year. She had mentioned that this would be the last. But now she is also changing her mind. “Well…maybe one more year…maybe I’ll retire in 2010. That seems like a good plan.”
The pull of the playa is too great. I love me my Burning Man.