What I learned at Burning Man last year
by Lois Layne
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
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
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
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
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.