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Welcome home? A pre-Burn journal
by Q and Michele

July 8: Today we found two Burning Man tickets in the mail. This comes as a surprise, since we weren't planning on going this year. Upon closer inspection, we discover they are charged to the same credit card we used last year, with this note inside: "Thank you for supporting Burning Man. We look forward to seeing you on The Playa». Your complete package will arrive in the mail shortly, detailing placement, your theme art contribution, and your campmates. We're looking forward to seeing you back Home»."

July 10: The week gets weirder. An envelope arrives today with detailed plans for "The Temple of Really, Really Deep Thoughts," the theme art we've been assigned by LadyBee. She clearly outlined exactly what she wants us to build, how she wants people to interact with it, where she's going to place it, and the emotional connections we should forge with both the art, and the people who interact with it. "Your Temple will provide emotional and intellectual catharsis for festival attendees," she writes. "It will be a place of prayer, reflection, self realization, and really, really deep thoughts. You will also pass out Deep Thought Tokens to be used to gain entrance to the "Temple of Extremely Deep Thoughts' beneath The Burning Man»." The plan calls for $5,278.73 worth of materials, and comes with a rejection for a Burning Man arts grant already attached.

July 29: Our camp placement and campmate assignments came today. We're placed at the intersection of Insipid and Vapid, two blocks back from Inane. Our theme camp is the Divining Rod, and we will help attendees fashion their own custom holy dildos out of playa dirt, recycled water, and Impolex G (the latest in biodegradable plastics from Germany). Our camp-mates include a lesbian couple from Seattle, three polyamorous first-timers from Texas' Burning Flipside, and the entire staff of SportKilt.com - this year's Utilikilt, but cheaper.

August 3: BM Survival Guide arrives in the mail today, complete with the following instructions:

  • Be sure to buy a lottery ticket for the night of the Burn, with the following numbers: # of times you've been to Burning Man, # of people in your camp, # of months you've been collecting unemployment, # of epiphanies you've had at Burning Man, and # of days you went last year as the bonus number.
  • As you approach the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake exit #43 off of Interstate 80, be sure to feel giddy anticipation.
  • The night the Man burns, you should feel reverence and awe ... no wait, that's Sunday night. Bring something meaningful, like your last unemployment check stub, or a printout of the last IM you had with your ex, to cast into the fire to cleanse yourself and begin anew. Beat your drum.
  • The night the Temple of Honor burns, feel smug satisfaction for having the foresight to stick around till Sunday. Honor thy mother, thy father, and utilize this last chance to honor any hottie who looks like they've had a shower in the last three days. Use a condom.
  • As you leave the festival on Monday, if you are a first-timer be sure to cry and declare to anyone who glances in your direction that you "Can't wait to come Home» next year!" If you are a jaded veteran, begin planning next year's camp/art/hip costumes before you get to the gate.
August 8: We sold our tickets on CraigsList.org and bought round-trip tickets to Vegas for Labor Day weekend. With a little luck, maybe we'll be able to catch Celine Dion the night of the Burn.

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