Monday, February 02, 2004

Burning Man 11: The Arrival of Coz and Mr. E

By the time we got all introduced and our minimum needs set up for our first night, it was late and I was getting tired again. What did not help in the least was that Mr. Pugh had busted out the flask and filled it full of Mr. Daniels, and we went wanderin'. Center Camp was still under construction inside, although the entire shell was done. I got a little disoriented (a hint of things to come), but stuck with Dan for a bit as we wandered out into what was still primarily darkness periodically broken up with work lights, frenetic construction, and genuinely disturbing noise.

I reckon we walked five hundred feet past the other side of Center Camp by the time things really began to peter out. I remember turning around to look back, and thinking "how the hell will this ever get full?" I say this to illustrate how naive I still was about humanity and art and energy.

Because each leg of the horseshoe is about 2000' long. Not only was that semi-empty area I was looking back at filled, but three others (at least, I'm playing fast and loose with the actual dimensions here) were as well. And FOUR others on the other side. In essence, I had no fucking idea how big this was going to get. And this would be the case for a couple of days.

When Dan and I finally met back up at camp, warm from the whiskey and exertion and slightly silly from all the events (remember, it was just a few hours previous that we'd been stranded in the desert with a flat tire), we found Mr. E's truck parked in the camp.

Now was the moment of truth, sort of. I'm a paranoid, shy, cynical motherfucker, so I by rights should have had stomach cramps at the thought of meeting two strange artists that a) had Dan's full respect and b) were willing to come out here in the middle of all this madness and attempt to DO something. I mean, after a quick spin around there, I was anticipating a fun week of sunburn and a variety of recreational drugs...but I couldn't imagine performing anything.

But anyway: Ethan and Cosmo were (and remain) great. They were whipped from the drive, and I don't think either of them harbor much of a penchant for Dionysian excess, at least like Dan and I do. We were all introduced, fiddled around a bit with the cubes, and adjourned to bed. We'd arrived, and set up, and stowed camp. Tomorrow would be the first day of the rest of a very changed life.

I'd just like to point out that while you'd think I'd have a lot more to write about regarding my first impressions of Burning Man, I was really too tired and bemused by things that were less than 20 feet away from my tent to recall big things. Besides, when something's new, you don't take in the sunset. You take in what the sunset shines on. I promise you, though, by Tuesday night, you'll get all the ambience you want. Or all that I can bestow upon you, through my fragile grasp of the English language. Ptah.


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