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What I learned at Burning Man last year
by Lois Layne

Going to Burning Man every year is kind of like going to summer camp for the depraved. Just like summer camp, you meet all sorts of people and you learn lot sof new things. The following are just a few of the things I learned at Burning Man last year.

Water. Now we all know that you don't come out here without bringing lots of water but you have to remember to drink some of it! It's not there just so you can fill up a couple of water pistols and run around squirting your neighbors. Unless you want to vomit all over the playa, and end up at the medical station with IV drips spiked into your arm due to dehydration, like one of our fellow campers did last year (Hi, Karen!) be sure to drink enough water so that you always piss clear!

Music, lots of music. It's everywhere. Last year I was surrounded by two raves, a drum circle and some bonehead whose idea of music was to play the sounds of crashing automobiles on a loop at very high volumes. I think that guy was taken out to the middle of nowhere and beaten, because he and his camp disappeared overnight. On the last couple of nights we had a new neighbor. They set up a small stage for some very marginal heavy metal band to perform at 2 a.m. every night. Look people, if you're going to provide music, at least make sure that it won't encourage people to throw rocks at you.

Paper, so many kinds. You need paper to write down your e-mail address and other pertinent info for all the new wonderful friends you end up making out here. Paper to cover that advertisement on the side of your rental truck. And for god's sake, don't forget the toilet paper to wipe your bum!

Sharing and caring. You have to have things to give to people. It can be anything, really, so use your imagination. Take the opportunity to help people out. If someone looks like they could use your help, offer. Share things with your neighbors. But get real about it. I met one person last year who said that he wanted to share his mental vibes with everyone I ended up feeling a little cheated. Let's face it, we're not all on the same wavelength.

D.A.R.E. If you like drugs, you better have brought 'em. It's the one thing that people really seem like they don't want to share. It must be because Drugs Are Really Expensive. This year, I brought cash.

Clothes can be versatile. Loose and light for daywear, and another layer or two for a night on the town. Keeping it simple is good, as long as it's not simply wearing a shirt and letting your ass hang out. This "look" is simply wrong. Okay, so maybe you want to run around naked, feeling "natural." Well hey, it's natural to protect yourself from the elements, too!

The Water Truck. That truck that drives around spewing water for the faithful? Why is it that this truck looks suspiciously like the one that sucks the crap out of the port-o-johns every morning? Everyday I see this truck and the same people following it, getting wet and bathing. It's like watching a bunch of baby pigs fighting for their mother's nipple.

Watches and clocks. Even though the theme this year is "Time," I say, "Feh! Who needs it?" Last year, both my watch and my travel alarm died almost as soon as I arrived on the playa. And you know what? I didn't miss them one bit.

Imagination. It makes the world go round. This is essential! You better have a creative mind out here, and know how to use it. And if you don't, then you would do well to hook up with someone who does. A stale mind wastes quickly on the playa.

Black Rock City. This is a real city and you built it! Everything you do has a direct impact on everyone else. Think about this next time you head for the playa to pee because you're too lazy to go to the port-o-john. At least take a shovel along, please?

Trends and fads. Even on the playa they exist. This year, sarongs seem to be in, big time. It's so much fun watching guys try to wear a sarong, having no clue about how to cross their legs.

SLOW DOWN. One of the most popular and frequently-used phrases on the playa. Listen, I like the art cars just as much as anyone, but can't we just assume that they actually work? Do they really need to stir up the dust to prove it? SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!

Piss Clear. I was surprised by the number of people who saw our logo on the side of our RV and thought it meant something completely different. This is not a code for water sports, people! So many seemed disappointed to find this out.

2002 Piss Clear
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