09-08-06: ninja rescue

This was my third year attending Burning Man. They always say that your third year is the telltale year, and it determines whether you'll ever come back again. The logic is: Everyone has a blast their first year. They return the second year expecting to recapture the magic of the first year, which is impossible. They try again their third year, which usually winds up being a different experience than the first two years, and whether the experience is something they'd like to relive in the future is what dictates if the person comes back for year four.

Patty and Gorm met me at the Reno airport, along with a Parisian friend-of-a-friend Isabelle to whom we were giving a lift. We took a couple cabs over to Sierra RV and moved into our home for the next week, and schlepped to the Super WalMart to stock up on supplies (Double Stuf Oreos, cheesy Pringles, dill havarti and Sweet Hawaiian Bread-- you know, the essentials). Renting the RV from Reno worked out to be about $1000 more expensive than driving it up from Oakland/San Fran, but it reduces the hassle by a zillion, so I think it's worth it... especially considering we're splitting the RV cost by three people.

Anyhoo, my first few days on the playa sucked; I'm not going to sugarcoat it. If I didn't have Patty and Gorm in tow, I would have packed up my crap and gone home. I was cold, I was grumpy, I was lonely, I was crabby, and I wasn't feeling the groove with my Zebrafish campmates, through nobody's fault really. I felt like an out-of-place uncool 9 year old in my neighborhood... everyone else around me having a blast, and me just standing around hoping to be asked to play kickball. I couldn't find a groove. I was mopey, and yeah, I admit it: I was feeling all sorry for myself. I got a really good night sleep Wednesday night, ate as best I could and stayed really hydrated and I perked up a bit, but I still couldn't find my wheeeee. I couldn't put my finger on it, I really couldn't. Other people I talked to said the same thing-- they just weren't feelin' it, either.

But then [cue violins] John knocked on my door Thursday and we agreed to be partners in crime, and from that point on the magic was in full swing. Happy, happy, happy! Joy, joy, joy! Good music! Gettin' our boogie on! Costumery! Sunsets! Sunrises! Ladybug bikes! Art cars! Pretending to be dinosaurs and AT-ATs stomping on playa cracks! Skulking around! Watching stuff 'splode! Gabbing with Austin peeps! I owe that guy a ton, because he made my Burning Man, hands down.

The four of us (Me, John, Patty and Gorm) hung out a lot, and we had a really terrific time together. I love that Patty, Gorm and John got along so well-- that made me really happy.

We all crashed at the Peppermill Hotel in Reno after the burn (and after the 7.75 hour wait to get from camp to the exit--argh -- plus another 3 hours to Reno), and got our buffet on with Steve, Corp and other Austinites (honorary and otherwise). After Patty and Gorm left for the airport, I convinced John and Steve to hang out a while before heading off to meet friends in Colorado, so we went to the Hilton arcade to play pinball and Asteroids; we also debated getting married at the chapel, though now in retrospect I can't be entirely sure who of the three of us would be marrying whom. :-P (John and Steve as heterosexual life partners?)  We went back to the hotel for much-needed naps, went out for some fan-freakin-tastic Thai food (who knew we'd stumble on it in Reno??) and the boys dropped me back at the hotel. After a slightly misty goodbye, we vowed to do it again next year, and it can't come fast enough for me.

I really dug hanging out with Steve. It's funny: We both have the same birthday, and we both have our doofy nicknames derived from spelling our names backwards, and we have our domains registered as such. Actually, what is creepy is that in a fit of boredom [read: laundry/reality avoidance] I was dicking around on OKCupid and saw that we got almost exactly the same scores on the various tests we took. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooh, we're just like TWINS! Maybe he'll call me tonight to see what I'm wearing to school tomorrow so we can match! Maybe he'll be like my best friend EVAR!

I can't decide what year was my best year at Burning Man. They all were great for such entirely different reasons. My first year was great because it was all so new and huge, but it was hard because I felt like the newbie who was kinda cramping the seasoned guy's style a little. Last year was great because I proved that I could get there my own damn self-- plus, hanging with Patty and The Mikes was kick-ass; but it also shook me up really hard because I had a lot of emotional stuff to sort through. This year was sucktastic in the beginning, but at the end was transcendant and full of genuine wheeeeeeeeeeee, and it gave me a lot of important things to think about. I like being shaken up like that. Good for the soul, and reminds you that you're alive, alive, alive. :-)

Thanks, Ninja.

Fortune Teller Miracle Fish today tells me that I am: Passionate.   Shouldn't it be poisson-ate?