As you enter the city in your dusty Chevy Cargo van at a slow clip as fellow “burners” start approaching your car to grab your attention – not to sell you anything (money is the root of most evil in this neck of the desert), but to bear gifts, simply because they feel like it. Condoms and Astro Glide magically find there way onto your lap. You look over to your cohort, SpiderMonkey, who with a grin murmurs, “Welcome home, Smash.”
As you enter the gates, you begin to feel that familiar warm chill.
You have traveled far hoping to find peace of mind again.
The nude black greeter stops your car and demands a hug.
You have never hugged a big black naked man… or maybe you have.
The greeters are all naked this year. A colony of sorts, positioned in this far dry corner of…
Black Rock City.
It’s hard to sleep in this place. Adrenaline and heat wake your body. But time matters not here. Last night is still blurry. In fact, your last remembrance is a fire sonata and the Vanity Mirror playing a dub-step mashup of Mr. Gregory Isaac. However, it is now time to hit the playa. You roam the desert streets in search of everything and nothing at all. All the essentials you need are in your life bag. I have dubbed it “Life Bag” because if you lose it your fucked. What’s in mine? Water, wine and whiskey, a mug to fill at the bars, cigarettes, camera, toilet paper in a ziplock, headlight, 13 lighters, condoms and AstroGlide, baby wipes, eyeliner, black lipstick, bandana, banana, nuts and a pen (as you never know when you will actually find your way back to camp). These are the Smash essentials.
You hit the Esplanade and veer. The vast desert is covered with everything that is unexpected. When a fire churning, green penis car creeps by and stops to grant you a “dance- Zep” under this desert sun you treat this as a privilege. One song and a swig from a bottle of brown later, the mean green penis slowly gathers it’s manhood to continue its journey down the playa. Likewise, you collect and do the same.
Time vanishes in Black Rock City. Days seem like minutes and minutes seem like years but here you wouldn’t want it any other way. Dusk and dawn mingle with dusty cocktails and a bag full of sin which signal that sleep will soon be forgotten.
You’ve always looked for a chance to escape. You once thought that you had found it buried deep in snow, where the cold had a chance to numb the soul. But with the playa now covering you, while dusty eyebrows and cracked lips are in accordance with the day, you have somehow escaped your white collar shirt and watch to find yourself in the middle of nowhere wearing nothing but your best Mad Max impersonation. This nowhere has treated us all very well. But there is no reason to define this playpen. This fantasy island is very real and then you hit yourself with a dusty black dildo you found on a random tabletop just to make sure you are not dreaming. On any other occasion, this might seem disgusting, but here, anything goes. Anything.
So how can anyone leave paradiso? Who in their righteous minds could truly come back from this amazing experience and look at their street corners with the same monotonous eye?
As intriguing as this sinful land might be, one must know the limits to their candy intake. I myself, have been regularly known to sugar up my spices (which adds to the flavor, of course), but even Mr. LeFunk knows that too much candy is bad for the teeth.
Fortunately, I have found a remedy to this harsh reality: Tales From The Playa.
The stories that ensue from that one magical week are enough to last a lifetime – they thicken a man’s skin, adding color to their persona. This is how burners find one another in a nation of millions – all it takes is a glance.
Sharing the tales of your incredible journey with the loved ones on your list of “Friends that Should Be Drunk With Me on the Playa…Right Now” is essential to keeping Burning Man alive. The act of passing on these stories reinforces its essence – it creates that curiosity that we have lost long ago – the search for the new.
Talking about this dusty corner of the earth also reminds you how much you miss Black Rock City – not necessarily a bad thing, for I believe that missing the playa is a piece of the reason to why we return.
Even now, many months after those unforgettable moments, my experiences have not fallen victim to dusty memories – because while I might not remember what I did yesterday, I will as sure as sin remember every waking moment of my time at Burning Man.