Thursday, January 22, 2004

Burning Man #1

In the spring of 2000, I was pretty well convinced that I had seen everything I was likely to see in my lifetime. That is, I knew pretty much every permutation of traffic on NW Expressway, I'd drank every kind of beer in Byron's Liquor Warehouse, and I'd even pretty well figured out the types of women I should stay away from.

The days of crazy hedonism were gone, in other words. After a couple of really bad experiences getting drunk or drug addled in other cities, I'd decided that God had given up on protecting this specific drunk, so I'd best stay home if I was going to be doing any more of that type of stuff. In other words, time to grow up a little bit and recognize that the law of averages (not to mention karma) meant I was about to get into some serious trouble (either legally or physically).

So, I was content to putter around the house and refuse invitations to keg parties, orgies, and zombie film fests. I was working my ass off, making lots of money, and in general trying to keep my head down.

Then, Dan called me. Being, I firmly believe, still on the right side of the law of averages, he continued to have an optimistic view of the world (and what we could accomplish in it). I was ready to buy the minivan, I guess you could say. Dan had gotten suckered into going to Burning Man, which for those not in the know is way the fuck away from Oklahoma, in the NW corner of Nevada. Since it wasn't really practical for him to go by himself (come to think about it, there's really nothing practical about doing it, at all), he caught me when I was drunk and not really paying attention and got me to commit to going with him.

Bear in mind that Dan is a tricky fucker, and I generally err on the side of courtesy, especially when I've been drinking. And he knows this, the bastard, so I'd pretty much been signed up with little more than "it'll be fun-go read the website tomorrow." It required more than a week off of work, in the summer, which as you can imagine is a bad time for me.

So, after reading about it, I decided it really wasn't something I could do. In other words, I chickened out--mainly because of the nearly 2 weeks I'd need off of work, but also because, well, this was exactly the sort of trip I had convinced myself we couldn't do anymore. There was enough driving alone to worry me to death--and then there was the desert, and the problem that I didn't know any of these folk at all.

But Dan lived in Houston, and we didn't really talk that often, and I wasn't terribly proud of having to back out, so I failed to notify him that I couldn't go. A few weeks passed, and apparently ol' Dan was sucked deeper into the confusing yet exhilarating (you won't know til you try it) preparations for doing it--or at least that's what I was led to believe.

I'm easily guilted, too. This event is what made me realize it, in fact. Suffice it to be said that Dan poked and prodded and cajoled until I came back around and committed. Again. I asked for the time off, then started seriously looking into what needed to be done. It was around June 15th.

End Part 1.