Burned It

So i made it. There and back, though none of it was easy. First of all the ride share was slightly sketch. The dude, who was nice enough overall, was a Scientologist and a slow driver. After he picked me up at 9am, all i could think was “Fuck” as the needle on the speedometer hovered at 15 mph for our entire drive from Venice to Culver City and i was given an introduction to the spiritual guidance of L Ron Hubbard. A drive that should have taken 5 minutes took 20 and felt like 45. Luckily there was another rider along and she and i could commiserate. The radiator died halfway between Bishop and Mammoth and we ended up getting towed back to Bishop where the four of us (3 roadtrippers plus 1 tow truck driver) were squished in the cab. I was in the most interesting position, having the gear shift in between my legs. Luckily the driver was above board. He did comment that he’d enjoy having someone grab at his crotch for 45 minutes. We had to camp in Bishop that night since the radiator shop was closed, subtracting a day from our burn right there. The dude was quite impressive however as he changed the radiator in the truck all by himself. (I tightened some screws.) Eight hours and a smattering more of Scientology later, we arrived at Black Rock City. Of course it was awesome, the lights, the dust, the nonstop trance (kidding on the trance). And i managed to freak out all the kiddies there who had no idea i was coming. Lots of “Oh Shit!” and that sort of thing.

As always there are stories, but only a quick recap here. I got a middle of the night ride along the perimeter on a art-Vespa, my first time on any motorized bike. The next day i got a tour of nearly the whole center of the playa on a full-fledged motorcycle, which was the coolest thing ever. Damn i want one. I got perfect opportunities to yell out “Rock ‘n Roll!” at least 20 times in 3 days. When you are on a big dusty bike behind a large leather clad biker with a teddy bear helmet on, you have to yell “Rock ‘n Roll! Woooooo!” pretty much every few minutes. The nights were tons of good dancing, where at one place i met a cool guy who’s directed me to what he swears is the best hip hop in LA on Thursday night. I’ll definitely check it out as i have no clue what to do here. There was more, but there’s always too much. And i always bring my camera and i never take any pictures. This year was bottom as i took a total of 0 pictures. Usually it’s one or two.

In all though, i think this was it for me at burning man. I just wasn’t as psyched about it all as i should’ve been. The first two years opened my eyes to whole new way of interacting with people. The whole idea of participatory culture was completely new so i was enthralled with everything. But now i’m on board, and all the extra stuff like the naked people, the drugs, the costumes are just not as exciting anymore. I mean, i’m glad people that are so inclined have a place to express it, but i feel like i can do and wear and do whatever drugs i want anywhere at this point. This year i appreciated the awesome landscape and the people the most. I hung out with the least cool folks, like leather clad pot bellied bikers in stuffed bear helmets. And a dude who rigs things in his spare time. Meaning he makes a lot of knots and stuff. And that pimply 15 year old wearing a huge chain link and a master lock around his neck. The last night i was dancing with Mo from brooklyn, and i looked down at myself in my tattered old navy jeans, black hoodie, and knit hat and was like “I’m dressed the same as if i was going to a house party in brooklyn.” And Mo, in her sparkly little silver dress, arm band do-dads and silvery makeup was like, “Me too.” And i laughed. She was. I guess that was the point. I just don’t need to go out to the desert to be myself these days. But 3 years ago i totally did.

Nevertheless, i’m glad i went. The desert was amazing, and there were more stars than dirty hippies. And it’s likely that i’ll change my mind completely and go again next year. In the meantime, i’m back in LA for another week and half before i face the music in new york. And right now a coffee drink is calling to me.