September 1, 2006 Burningman might have been fun but…
…mistakes were made:
More than I could chew
Seven days was a long time to be camping. I haven’t camped in years and I can’t say I ever cared for it, especially after my time in the Marine Corps. The playa was too much, especially since:
No tent, no shelter, no fun
I left San Diego expecting Andy to have brought an extra tent with him. So I ended up sleeping next to the trailer, under the lean-to that covered the coolers, exposed to all three elements (dust, wind and sunlight) and the house music that kept me up until the sun took over.
I was across the playa when the winds first kicked up, and by the time I got back, my bags (sleeping and otherwise) were loaded with a handfuls of the fine, tenacious playa dust.
I moved my stuff into the cab of the trailer but the damage was done. I’d be sleeping in a bag of dust.
Lacking a place that was my area contributed to my sense of misplacement:
The Guy on the Couch
I only knew one person in the camp. From what I’d heard this wouldn’t be a problem, Burningman is supposed to be a friendly, open environment… right? Yeah well, not if you’re me.
I’m not as shy as I used to be, but I can only take in one or two new people at a time. 15-20 new people at once is overwhelming. Worse; they all know each other from previous years and are busy catching up and reminiscing. Worse still; they’re all coupled up. I might have been the only single person there, everyone else was married or in a relationship.
[At this point there are those of you who might be experiencing that smug feeling that you get when single people complain about being single. But I don’t dislike being surrounded by couples out of jealousy. I dislike being surrounded by couples because you people are fucking boring. Boooring! It’s worse when you get married, and when you have kids… it’s over.
OK, some of you aren’t boring, but you definitely lost your edge.]
All I heard was, “blah…blah…blah… new fence… blah…blah…blah… We just bought a new crock pot from Bed Bath and Beyond blah…blah…blah… When I go to work I take Main to the highway instead of Broadway and I save fifteen minutes… blah…blah…blah…” I got a toaster, a ten year old microwave and nothing else to contribute to this conversation.
Even the camp’s gimmick was a turn off. From 5pm to whenever they had “Happy Hour”.
Actual Happy Hours; aren’t. Actual Happy Hours are where people who hate there jobs and hate their lives go to get blitzed so they can forget both.
On Wednesday the patch of dirt that was my bed was turned into a puddle of mud by a leaking water tank (Oh, there’s that forth element). “Screw it! I’m going home.”
Funny, how when I decided to leave people got concerned, like I’d announced that I was leaving the church. A half-dozen times I got The Questions; “You’re not having a good time? What’s wrong? What can we do to help? Would you be happier in another camp?” Yeah, maybe. But I figure the odds are that I’d be in the same situation with another twenty names that I can’t learn.
Buddy, can you spare a good and/or service?
A gift economy is an economic system in which the prevalent mode of exchange is for goods and services to be given without explicit agreement upon a quid pro quo, or the concept of “a favor for a favor” in the Latin language.
Yeah, well there’s a big difference between being given, and having to ask.
I hate asking for things. While I’m usually willing to help any stranger who asks for a favor (unless I smell a con) I’ll only ask a favor from someone I consider a friend, the magnitude of the favor scales with the magnitude of the friendship. Say what you will about commerce (I’m sure it’s all bad, everyone who has ever posted on LJ is a communist), but when money is involved what you can have is made clear.
My independence, my reluctance to bother people, prevented me from accepting one of the basic, essential tenants of Burningman.
So I’m back early. Probably the only person to pay $20 to miss the last four days of Burningman. I have more to talk about but this post has gone on too long. I’ll recap Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday’s experiences on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.