Thursday, March 25, 2004

Burning Man 34: Epilogue

Oh yeah...never thought I'd be able to use that word. Forgive me if it sounds pompous.

When I woke up the morning after whatever night it was I got back from the Burn (I think it was Thursday morning), I was disoriented. The first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes the first week or so after returning from the desert is "why are all the walls of my tent square? How cool and completely inefficient that is!"

Then it hits you: you're going to have to get up and go outside and (if you're lucky) go to work to get more useless little scraps of paper that you can give to people who actually have something of value to you.

That's hard.

What's also hard is remembering that it's not OK to go out into your yard and get your paper completely naked. In fact, doing anything outside the confines of your house without lots of clothing is frowned upon.

The money thing was hard too, but I had it back on track well before I quit waking up in my bedroom trying to figure out what sort of tent I was in.

Strangely enough, I know a number of people that report the same sensations after Burning Man. It lasts anywhere from two mornings to a week, and it's completely bittersweet--because let's face it, square corners are a ridiculous luxury in a high wind, with flimsy materials. That's the sweet: you must be back home, because only some complete lunatic would make a complete replica of someplace back home way out in the middle of the desert.

The bitter, of course, is realizing that you're stuck back at home, and that your senses won't be dazzled as soon as you walk out your door--and if you choose to act like many people do out on the playa, you probably won't make it very far before you get arrested, or at the very least seriously questioned.

But the bitter is transient--and here I'm going to sound like a hippie dipshit, but so be it. Because when you pick up your cellphone (I mean, I didn't have a cellphone in those days, but that's not the point), or check your inbox, something magical happens: all the moments I've written about, and you've read about, come back every time I see the name of someone that was there with me. And you know, if you stick it out and stay in contact with these folks (and it's impossible not to--I've still got Canadian Lori's email, and I haven't seen her in three years), you'll meet people that you didn't know at the time, but can relate to because of Burning Man.

It's Friendster on acid, maybe. Or on some sort of weird, long lasting steroids. I don't know.

There's really no way to end this with any pithy statement on the nature of humanity, or What It All Really Means. I just don't have that in me, kids. Maybe if I'd made the trek last year, I'd be unselfconscious enough to say things like "it changed my life," or some other slightly creepy superlative...but I didn't, and I've spent a lot of time since then curbing my evangelism.

So I'll just cut it short. Go here:


That's how all this got started.


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