Tale from the Playa


by Gandalf the Grey

When i first heard about burning man, my first impression was that it was this big hippy festival in the desert with a big fire. That’s what people said of course. A few of my friends had gone and all they really said was: You gotta be there to truly appreciate and understand what actually goes on. They also said that it was the most amazing experience of their lives.

So packing everything but my values, moral sense and judgments i rented a large motor home with a friend. We splurged and bought as much of everything that would bring us comfort that we could find. It was a little bit over the top. Lamb steaks, organic oysters with gourmet cheese. Enough wine to drown a large whale. Hell, we ate and drank better than we do at most restaurants while at burning man.

The journey was a harrowing 47 hours of driving from Canada. My gracious co-pilot, had decided to take an alternate route through Nevada (a service road if you will), outside the state highway, which would APPARENTLY shave 2 hours off of our driving time. This all happened while i was asleep. I awoke to the man prodding me and telling me i had to drive in a two-lane unmarked road in the middle of the night with semi-trucks coming at us full speed, headlights blazing. To say the least we were quite tired and irritated when we arrived.

The initiation was fun. I quite enjoyed being rolled around in the playa dust. In fact i could almost say that throughout my entire experience, the dust and i had an almost intimate relationship. Love and hate if you will.

It was dusk and we had shown up quite early in the time of the event. We were not going to be like those weekend warriors. No not us. We were here for the whole thing. We desperately looked for a place to anchor down amongst the other camps in the sparsely populated desert. Our friends from the Seed of Life were nowhere to be seen. Looking up i saw a sign saying: Alternative Thinking.

Looking at my friend i said, hey we think alternatively, lets park here. We went to sleep.

The next day i came out of the motor home with a cigarette in mouth, corona in my hand, a pair of versace sunglasses and absolutely nothing else on. I could feel the sun and various people’s eyes caressing my naked body. It was quite liberating. All of a sudden out of nowhere a man came up to me and introduced himself. He was a mexican, and from afar looked as if he were a woman. As he approached i noticed he was man dressed as a woman. He offered to shake my hand. I extended my hand and he then proceeded to grab my balls. I was able to dodge this snaky maneuver and slapped his hand away. He then walked away. And then i looked around. Oh yes we were in the alternative thinking district alright. We were parked right outside the jiffy lube tent. For two heterosexual guys this was a very intense realization. It seemed as if we had done some sort of quantum leap and landed on planet gay. We were not scared or offended by what we saw. In fact it was quite educational.

We packed our things and left. We found our camp shortly after, they had been running a little late. The only thing that i can say about burning man after that point was that it truly was as intense as everyone said it is. I remember stumbling around the campsites and having a woman dressed in traditional Japanese attire inject a veterinary cattle-grade syringe full of hot sake down my throat. Our bikes crapped out on the first day, so the art cars were our main form of transportation. It’s interesting how fast you can get around there on your own two feet.

The final and most glorious part of it all was the burning of the man himself. I remember holding my co-pilot up, with tears running down my face saying: this is the most amazing thing in the world!!

He looked at me and said: well I’m seeing double, so it’s twice as good for me!!

I looked at this girl beside me as the explosions began. She looked up at me with these beautiful blue eyes and asked: why are you here.

i looked down at her, drew her close and said: Because I’m lost.

We kissed as fireworks and flame exploded everywhere. It was epic.

The end.

About the author: Tales From The Playa

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

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