― Oscar Wilde
And Good Advice Is Often Wasted on Me
I like to think I'm getting wiser in my later years. And really I am.
I was exhausted before I left for Burning Man.
When I hit the Playa, I had that now familiar surge of energy.
But it was short-lived. I knew how much work lay ahead for us.
Burning Man Is Not a Job
Circus Combustus had earned a place on Esplanade.
A lot to live up to.
I had hoped to honed some circus and fire skills so that I would feel comfortable performing.
That didn't happen.
A matter of time and my attempting to take on too much. I was playing with juggling knives, torches, and fire balls as well as playing with a fire staff.
In the end, I didn't practice any of them nearly enough.
Maybe next year.
But where I could pitch in, was my skills setting up.
And so I went full in, like I tend to do.
It was just like set dressing. Unloading a truck, stringing up lights, setting up scaffolding, draping fabric.
I was in my element.
The desert heat was nothing for me. Hell, on Tank Girl it was 122 degrees F, no shade and 100 ft sand dunes. I was quite comfortable in 105F. And out here we rarely got into the 90's.
But this wasn't a job.
For better or for worse, there was no hierarchical system. I wasn't in charge or even a cog in the machine. I was part of a team effort that moved ahead in its own mercurial ways.
Bibi and I ended up teaming up again on a bunch of different projects.
Again I was so thankful for her youthful un-jaded eyes and unbridled enthusiasm.
I unfortunately knew at most every turn how long things would take. Where we would run into problems, how we could avoid them, etc. etc. etc.
It was just like a job for me, regardless of how I tried to treat it like something else.
And I resented it.
I wish I didn't.
I wish I could have approached it differently.
I wish I wasn't who I was.
But alas I am who I am and I continued to work, and work and suffer.
I tried to take breaks.
But I saw all the places where my expertise, my life skills were valuable and I couldn't resist from giving.
Giving to the point where I was spent through and through.
There was certainly a masochistic side to it. I was still feeling guilty about taking this "vacation" and was feeling that any level of pain and suffering I was going through was well deserved.
It rained and it was amazing.
I jogged out to the bathrooms and came back with platform boots of playa mud.
It would shut down Burning Man for the first time in its history.
And delay us a bit.
But it delayed everyone.
Misery loves company, and I am misery's company, a role I relish.
One can't explain Burning Man.
One can try. A fool's journey to be sure.
It can be life altering or not.
It speaks to everyone differently.
This was not my best of burns.
I was in a bad head space.
I tried to drink myself into oblivion more than once.
I embarrassed myself on occasion, if you can actually do that out here.
I succumbed to certain demons and insecurities.
I felt out of place and unpopular like I did in high school.
I saw amazing things.
I missed amazing things.
I Love Quotations
“The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.”
― Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road
I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
Unfortunately, that could have been my mantra.
I rose above that stance more than once.
My circus pirate crew wouldn't have allowed me to wallow in my guilt and depression.
I had some rockin' times with the crew.
I would be remiss to not throw a shout out to Art and Such and Such, where I first camped and started my Burning Man Journey.
I ended up back at the Wonder Bar with the Glennns on more than one occasion.
And on that note, I will ramble out a bunch of shout outs to people who were amazing and added life to the stark flat dust lake that is BRC; Charlie Smith, Patricia, Ben, Rhode, James, Scotomatic, Nico,Pyro Pixie, Ryan, Sadie, Scott, Bibi, Whiskey Dave aka the voice of BRC3PO, Rebbecca, train-wreck Sam, Rueben, Monet, Allison, Keith, Alan, Super John, Maya,Pieter, Tareq, Robert, Patrick, Dufduff, Ayoka, Hayden, Cristiana, Cherry bomb, Cosmic Gregg, Tyson, and on and on. Sorry for anyone I didn't mention.
Wow and wow.
I'll throw some pics down, but even at a thousand words a piece they'll fall short of describing my experience out there.
Last year I ran the Burning Man Ultramarathon. It was awesome.
It also helped center and moderate my burn.
I ran it this year as well with less training.
And I managed to finish half an hour faster.
Our camp was on the race course, although everyone was still asleep until my last lap which was absolutely perfect.
They came out and cheered me on and it was like I had done a line of cocaine or two.
Or at least that's how I would imagine it to feel like from what I heard it's like.
And when I got to Art and Such and Such, the Infinite Infant was rolling in and Wil Albarez practically tackled me dousing me with water and giving me another energy surge.
I am barely touching the surface of my week plus experience up in Northern Nevada.
I said nothing of my ridiculous tent failure or punk rock escapades or chasing the pirate ship or, oh well so much.
We do tend to pack in experiences out here.
I will have one last post about the journey home.