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Burning Man: part 1 - The inexplicable charisma of the rival [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Burning Man: part 1 [Sep. 14th, 2004|02:20 am]
Just me.
Almost everything you've heard about Burning Man is probably true, especially the part about you can't really explain it well to someone who hasn't been there unless you use lots of lame similes. But really, Burning man has three major aspects:

1) self expression
2) temporary community
3) car trouble

It is the 3rd of these that is most likely to cause you to have an epiphany or transformative experience on the playa. You may have car trouble coming to or leaving the playa because you neglected to get a tune up or you overloaded the weight on your trailer, or you may have no car trouble at all, but the person carrying your tent/water/bike/booze/coffee maker will break down in Lakeside, Oregon, thus totally completing your playa experience.

Deciding not to subject my artcar to playa dust, I had arranged to ride to BM with gryph and her boyfriend, David, who were bringing his housemate's RV. Also along for the ride was a terrible mooch girl who had hooked up with gryph via a rideshare board, but who, we would later discover, didn't have a BM ticket, or much money from supplies, and was hoping we would sneak her in (not cool, and awfully presumptous of her), and a nice young hippy couple from Eugene. The first of us set out at 5am on Saturday morning, picked up the Eugeneites along the way, and made it as far as the California border before the RV started smoking and smelling funny.

We'd blown the transmission seal ( theda: "No, it's just ice cream, I swear!") and spilled fluid all down the highway. As other RVs and trucks decorated with images of The Man passed us, I got the brilliant idea to flag one down. As it turns out, I chose well: our savior, Mindfuct of PDX, had room for 3 of us AND our gear and offered to take us along, even though he already had 5 other passengers, and had to be forced to accept gas money from me. The Mooch was foisted off on another woman who stopped to help (a Burner that lived in Alturas). David and gryph stayed behind as Triple A's tow truck hauled the RV off to Alturas, CA, the next "big" town on the route. Oddly, when our new ride stopped for gas in Alturas, it turned out the garage gryph had been towed to was right next door. As we said hi to david and gryph, the Mooch walked up and somehow mooched a ride to the gate, as Mindfuct didn't want to attempt to sneak her in, either. I would later hear that she was outside the gate 2 days later; dunno if she made it in eventually or not.

A big irony: because of a questionable and possibly prohibited electric scooter on Mindfuct's trailer, the gate staff pulled us out of line until the scooter could be cleared. It was, but the gate staff failed to tear the 9 tickets that they'd already made sure we had. So if the Mooch hadn't been a horrible person (crimes include paying only $15 to gryph for gas instead of the $55 that was specified in advance, and neglecting to bring food or water among the 4 bundles she carried, but managing to pack among her "essentials" a stuffed animal with an annoying electro voice box that she would set off repeatedly in the RV), someone could have walked out to the gate, handed her an untorn ticket, and she could have entered free of charge. No one was willing to do this. Karma; it's a bitch.

I arrived at my camp at 4am, managed to corner a campmate (that I didn't yet know) coming back from a bathroom trip, who helped me find a place to pitch my tent and helped with the set up (especially gruelling when its a cold desert night and you've been on the road 23 hours.

I slept better that night than I would ever sleep again. You can call this statement "foreshadowing", or you can nod knowingly when I say in the battle between techno, open desert space, and earplugs, techno always wins.

to be continued....
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: holyoutlaw
2004-09-14 12:50 am (UTC)
"It's only ice cream, I swear."

That's my favorite penguin joke.
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[User Picture]From: gryph
2004-09-14 09:04 am (UTC)
Mooch Mango did infact make it onto the playa. We unfortunately ran into her on the way somewhere. David asked if she recognized me, and I said "Of course, I wouldn't have gone up to her otherwise." It was very awkward, and uncomfortable.
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