Thursday, August 23, 2012

Morgan's Burning Man Blog (Entry #1: Pre-Burn)

The ticket arrived in the mail!  
Day goggles and night goggles for dust storms!
I got my stencil on
to spruce up this Goodwill band jacket... (my cousin Chloe Caemmerer designed this logo for the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. Mad props, cuz)
Day 1 of packing

The bike I'm going to ride. This is what it looked like after last year. Every time I ripped a piece of fur off, a cloud of dust would fly in my face. Brace yourself!

Now with a zebra skirt and more hot glue...
Stephanie is feeding our camp's early arrival folks, and some others...this will be pasta salad for 40
Glow-in-the-dark puff paint time.

Here are the videos we've been watching:

This one inspired the jingle that Stephanie and Teo have been singing at me...
"She's going to Burning Man, Burning Man, Burning Man..."

If you like Archer, this is definitely worth a watch :)

And the time lapse from last year's Burn. The city is shaped like an incomplete
clock, and the horizontal streets start the letters A-L, so an address would be
something like 9:30C....

I almost can't remember what I thought about Burning Man before this. I don't think I thought much about it. The idea of creating a city and breaking it down in a week was impressive. It sounded a little unsafe, a little wobbly. I liked festivals, and celebrating, and cultures of spontaneity, especially after living in New Orleans. But I never considered going to Burning Man. It sounded like too much work, too much money, too And I don't like deserts.

Cue cousin Stephanie. She's my mom's cousin. I'd heard about her for years, and finally, a month ago, I got to meet her when she visited us in Seattle. By the end of the first night it was clear how much she loved Burning Man. It's like when I'm talking to someone and I start half of my sentences with, "well, in Palestine...." As naturally as it came to me, I was always on edge at the abnormality of it.

Considering all the stereotypes surrounding Burning Man, I imagine Stephanie had a similar experience. It was easy to understanding that it was life-changing for her. She told us stories about people she met, the art, the quirks, the theme camps, the community....if I remembered the stories I'd write them down here but suffice to say, I was sold. After me and the cousins and aunts and uncles had assembled at the cabin, and the stories were re-told, and the videos shown, it looked like this Burning man thing was right up our alley. One of my cousins and I contemplated asking Stephanie if she could hook us up a ticket at the last minute. When Stephanie and I parted ways, I asked her if it was possible, and she was thrilled. She said she'd send messages out to the e-mail lists, and added that "if it's your year to go, things will happen."

But it still didn't seem possible. I'd just gotten home from a year of volunteering, and I was broke.

A week later, Stephanie sent me an e-mail saying that her nanny was off for two weeks in August, and if I wanted to come down and stay with them and earn some money, maybe that would help make my decision...

And that was it. Nannying. Burning Man. Boom.

So here I am in Santa Barbara. I've spent the last two weeks taking care of a lovely little two-year-old, getting to know Stephanie's family and the great state of California (also drove down to LA for a few days), and getting ready for the Burn. I snagged an early admission pass by volunteering to set up another theme camp, so I'll get to know way more people off the bat, which is exciting.

I don't know what to expect for myself. I expect myself to get tired a lot, because I do tend to lose steam real fast...add the blazing sun and I can already taste the lethargy. What do I need? Red Bulls? 5 Hour Energy? Cocaine? Speed? Lots of techno and glow-in-the-dark things zipping around me?

I know it's important to pace yourself. I'll probably take a few chill days. I also want to see everything, which I've heard is impossible. But still.

This is part of the last emergency contact e-mail sent out to our families...

Q: What can prevent me from getting the message?
A: Just a few of the variables that can get in the way: your camp
relocates, or nobody's ever in camp when we come seek you out; your
camp spot is obscured from view by other camps; the 20 foot inflatable
duck deflates due to a leak; there are three camps with 20-foot
inflatable ducks, and none of the neighbors know anyone named "Chris"
because you have been introducing yourself all week as "Captain
Underpants, Lord of the Duck People!" You get the picture.

A few words I've learned:

MOOP-Matter out of Place. If you're wearing a costume with a lot of sequins and things that can fall off and get left on the ground, it would be described as "moopy." We are trying to leave as little moop as possible.

Pink Heart-that's Stephanie and Teo's camp, where I'll be staying. It's pink and fluffy.

And I can't remember what else....time to go!