Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Burning Man 18: Tuesday Night Afterparty

After the show, many people began to drift off-after all, this was (I felt) an night to celebrate. I was still very much tripping, though, so I didn't want to venture far, and was pleased to be invited up on top of the RV the New Yorkers had brought with them.

Someone had scored several bottles of absinthe, which was my first experience, but it had very little effect on me, except for the juxtaposition of such a sophisticated treatment of pouring a coctail in such a wild and desolate area. That is, the desert. The RV interior was still in decent shape at this point.

Tuesday night, I've found, is generally when people's masks start coming off. Earlier that evening Dan had been forced to make a choice between his sanity and his excessive cleanliness, and I have to say he was much easier to deal with after that. And no, I won't repeat the story of how this occurred, exactly. You can ask him. I think it was long enough ago that he'll tell you, now.

By sunup on Wednesday, it became apparent to me that the Ishkabibble Camp was going to split. Again, masks began to come off, and habits that had been merely annoying were now major character issues that would result in a trip to the Thunderdome later in the week.

Since I didn't go to that thing (Thunderdome, that is), I'm afraid I won't blog much about it, but I will post something about that group of subhuman asslickers here in a minute. And if you're nice, I'll tell you how they got upstaged by a bunch of clowns (literally).

But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Everyone, it seemed, went different directions. Dan had gone off, in typical Dan style, to meditate on What It All Meant--which meant walking to the end of the road, both literally and figuratively, and turning and looking back at where he'd come from.

Ethan and Cosmo, I think, went out looking for some of their friends.

Most of what would remain Ishkabibble after all the tents had been moved around went out dancing, leaving me up on the RV with one of the Boyscouts, and Todd and Robert. And a bottle of absinthe (which I alone, of course, partook of).

We had some good conversation. We didn't know each other well at all, and you could hardly have come up with three more differently raised individuals, but I think all of us were excited at the possibilities of both Our Group and the possibilities of Burning Man as a whole--perhaps they'd become jaded in their own ways, too.

After several hours (so it seemed-remember, I was on large amounts of hallucinogens), I found myself alone up there. It was dark, and I was very, very cold, despite the button up shirt that Todd loaned me. I'd also found a quilt that I'd brought along just in case, so I imagine I looked like some sort of Isaac Asimov indian up there, wrapped in a multicolored blanket with a tower of blinking lights atop my head. Todd and Robert had either gone to bed, or more likely had gone out to find Jack Webb--more on those guys later.

I spent an hour or so freezing, but not wanting to move. I'd found that we'd seriously neglected the number of flashlights and light sources in our camp, and since everything was tied down six ways from Sunday, it was a bit dangerous in the dark. Even things that I saw were dangerous, because my hair was sticking straight up and I couldn't judge how far up it went. Plus, I was a little lonely, yet I couldn't deal with strangers. All this resulted in me sitting around thinking a lot, which if you've never done it is far superior to lying in your tent thinking a lot, or even worse, trying to sleep.

I was beginning to come down from the team effort we showed earlier. The biggest part of that, for me, was that everyone did what they did intuitively. The people who weren't actively running projectors were either cuing up more footage, answering questions from strangers, or continuing to work on the camp. No plan had been laid out, there was no leader (as far as I ever knew) who told anyone what to do, yet everyone fulfilled a role. This was completely unique in my experience, and I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what could have caused it.

Dammit, I'm sorry kids. Here I've been working myself into a really narrative mood (which you might alternately call "willingness to spout bullshit across the web"), and now I've got to get back to work. Perhaps I'll write more when I get home.

Thanks for reading.


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