Confessions of a Newbie
by Andrea Spacegirl Drugay
I have not
always been this cool.
years ago, while high on E at the very first "real" rave I ever
attended, I wound up completely embarrassing myself during a conversation with
a very cute, very techno guy who wanted to know how many raves I had been to.
Young and shy about my lack of "experience," I coyly asked him to
guess. He smirked and sneered, "It's your first."
and ran away, horrified! How could he know? My newness! How shameful! How
forward, year 2000: a hundred raves and however many drugs later, I have come
to accept and fully embrace the new, the unknown, to revel in it.
finally, after years of talking with friends, acquaintances, and ex-boyfriends
who had gone to Burning Man and loved it, I found myself heading out there for
the first time ever. The desert! The non-rave! The freaks! I was traveling with
a group of crazy party people who were all heading out for their second, third,
fifth, eighth time.
turned out, my trip was a well-padded one, cushy, in fact, for a virgin: not
only was our group large enough to take over three corners of an intersection,
but we had our own full-on club, complete with silver dome, lasers, DJs, and
I was so
ripe, so ready to go. And years after the humiliation with techno guy, I was
absolutely determined to be the best virgin ever. "Ooh, I've never done this before!" would be my mantra.
months crept up like underwear during a long drive, my mind began swirling,
filled to the rim with lists of things to buy, things to make, clothing to hem,
batteries to test. What was I in for? Where was the edge of this new world? I
had heard the stories, seen the pictures. I had the outfits, the gear, the
common-sense fear of the unknown and yet the sick, horny desire for
outrageously transcendental psychedelic, sensual experiences. But did I have
questions nagged at me for weeks before I left. Would it really get unbearably
hot in the desert? Too hot to wear a wig during the day? What if we run out of
water? What if we run out of beer? What if I have a bad trip? What if I run
into someone I know? What if I don't? Will I get to run around naked? Will I
get to be in an orgy? Will feminist hippie chicks hate me because I'm straight?
Am I straight?
answers, my friend, came blowing in the wind ÷ and the dust, and the chunks of
playa, and the dozens of overblown tents and tarps. The answers blew into my
ears and up my nose, got tangled in my new playa-made dreadlocks, infiltrated
my cranial region and have since taken up permanent residence in the gray
matter formerly known as Brain.
answers, I discovered last year: it is usually too hot to wear a wig during the
day, and if you bring 98 cans of beer, you probably won't run out. If you go
into a trip in a good head, you'll probably come out of it in a good head. You
will always and never run into someone you know. A cute outfit can be just as
much fun as being naked. I'm still looking for an orgy and I'm probably not
really straight. And feminist hippie chicks like me.
all the answers I discovered last year only led to more questions once I
returned to the city. Why did I never go before 2000? Have I ever had a greater
week in my life? Why do people still go if they complain about it all the time?
Where can I get a cheap golf cart?
can't answer those three, but I do know that this year will be bigger and,
well, maybe size really does matter. I'll never be able to sit around the
campfire telling stories about '95, cheap ticket prices, or "back when it
was underground," but I will be able to have a great time in '01, with
expensive tickets and tons of people.
there's not much to say except, well, you're here and you're reading this so
you probably know already and if you don't, you will, soon. It's what you make
of it, it's mind over matter, carpe diem, be here now, stop whining, ride your
bike, fly a kite, play along, chill out, go with the flow, freak out. If you're
sneering, sneer somewhere else; and if you're a newbie, remember your