This trip is a test of how tough I am. I’m cracking my shell, pouring it all out, and revealing exactly what I’m made of. I say, “I’ve ‘been holding back,” in such a trivial way to describe whatever is really going on. And because I always choke in front of crowds, I feel my confidence is mustering somewhere deep inside me and unprecedented. With all presumptions aside, I’m going to lay my head down and relinquish my thoughts for now, or at least until I wake up in Reno.
First Day of Burning Man
From 11pm – 5 am. We pulled into the gates of Burning Man ever so slowly inching our way down the playa, and crept ever so slowly through the darkness. It is recommended to set up camp past midnight when the tumultuous atmosphere ceases to roar. Apparently frequent winds and dust whip around the desert during the sunlight hours, smoldering and fierce, making it difficult to unload camp and set up. The moonlight was strong and the air was calm and cold. After spending all of our possible sleeping hours in the car and finally rolling in at 5am, we set up our shade structure and bolted our tents into the ground only to crawl up into the sleeping bag, catching the sunrise and a few morning hours of shut eye.
We woke up at around 11am and took a walk around our portion of the city, carefully taking note of our surroundings seeing as it will be a hard camp to find where we live again once the city erupts. Kim and I are camping with her Wwoofing comrades from Cali. Most camps have between 20 and 50 people where as ours was of budget style, bringing food and tents enough for only 8 members.
It’s Monday evening and the sound camps and art installations are just beginning to take form. Immediately, I start seeing girls topless with pasties or nothing at all, tiny hemp skirts, dread locks, and dust masks swarm the playa. Dudes sport utilikilts or straight up slinky dresses, playing up gender confusion and complete social aversion. I tell Kim how it’s costume time from here until the end and we must look the most sexy and ridiculous as possible. Kim throws on a pair of butterfly wings and a purple tutu and I grab some furry leg warmers and a tight romper suit. The girls from my camp and I jump on our bikes and head for the Man. The Man stands on top of a tower in the center of the camp, about 50 ft tall. As I’m walking up the stairs up to the top like the Statue of Liberty, two men are coming down. I look at the steps to make sure I got one foot in front of the either and look back up as I inhale the sweaty stench of free ballin’ genitals right in my face. “Shirt Cockers” are the gender rebels who organized against wearing pants. Without any warning, my first encounter was with a man coming down the stairs as I’m walking up and his cock lands eye level. Holy Shit!
I quickly learned about most of the erotic anti-social communities throughout the week. There was the Shurly camp that lined their perimeter with bacon, only eating bacon, and proclaiming that they found that bacon was the successful way to keep the hippies away. There was the Zombie camp across the playa from the Zombies Hunters camp, who walk around in corpse paint getting captured by strategically placing PBR Tallboys in traps by the hunters with airsoft guns. There was Camp Beaverton, a ‘haven’ for overt lesbians participating in Beaver eating contests and all night girl-on-girl discos. The Pink Gym, a hellish excerise facility with a well equipped weight room, playing off the vanity contests for metro-hetereosexuals and whoever was curious. The camps were obnoxious, overt, socially awkward, tremendous, and exhilarating showcasing all the possible facets of human expression. This is going to be a wild ride.