August 12th, 2009  |  Filed under Building BRC, Tales From The Playa

Dude, where’s my stuff?

August 12th, 2009  |  Filed under Building BRC, 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.

mag-3-copy

Felix Ling had a little trouble finding his stuff on the playa last year.

So you know how hard it is to find your way back to camp some nights (or some mornings)? You walk around for what seems like hours, you get more and more frustrated, then you start thinking bad things about yourself for being such an idiot, then you start pleading with the powers of the universe … please PLEASE let me find my camp! I just want to sleep!

Well this is a story about a guy who couldn’t find his camp. But it wasn’t just for a couple of hours, or for a night, or until it started getting light again. He NEVER found it again.

Felix Ling was out at the Burn last year with a bunch of friends. They had to leave before he did, so they took off and left the camp set up for him to take care of later. Welllll, one thing led to another, and there might have been a little partying, and there might have been a night spent … out and about. But the key point is, when it came time for Felix to go back to his camp, it wasn’t there.

Even though the Man had burned and a lot of the geographic locaters were missing by this point, he KNEW he couldn’t be THAT disoriented. He couldn’t completely lose his camp and his car. But still, it was all gone. No trace.

So he came to the logical conclusion that someone had stolen all his stuff. (And Felix is quite logical. Among other things, he teaches Economics at San Jose State. He does lots of responsible things.) So he made his way to the exit gates and hitched a ride back to the Bay Area. He was saddest about the 800 pictures he’d lost, but just about everything else was replaceable. Not a bad attitude at all, considering …

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Felix is at home, the phone rings, and it’s Maid Marian from the Burning Man office. She has a question for him: “Did you forget anything?”

Right. His stuff WASN’T stolen. He actually HAD lost it all. The Burning Man people had gotten pretty worried when they found all his stuff completely intact after everyone else had left the playa. What was this mystery camp and car? Was the guy dead? Would they eventually discover his body under a pile of rubble. So they went about solving the puzzle of the Missing Asian Guy. And eventually they were able to find a phone number for him and tell him the good, if embarrassing, news that all his stuff was indeed safe.

Here’s the kicker of the story: Not only did they FIND his stuff, they actually drove it down to him in San Francisco. One of the office staff needed a way to get from Gerlach to SF, so … why not take Missing Asian Guy’s car?

To show his gratitude, Felix is up here now volunteering with the Department of Public Works. He’s helping to set up Power Camp. He’s digging trenches and counting cables and generally being a very willing and capable pair of hands.

And his playa name? MAG. Which stands for … Missing Asian Guy, of course.

(more photos over here)


Submit your Tales From the Playa at reflections@burningman.com

22 Responses to “Dude, where’s my stuff?”

  1. jami Says:

    i love this happy ending to that story!!

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  2. kenna Says:

    this is fantastic. i want to hug MAG!

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  3. Kelly Says:

    That’s great. Hope I bump into Mag as I search for my own camp.

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  4. Andie Grace Says:

    I love it I love it I love it I love it. Not just the funny story about his mishap, but the lemonade he’s made out of it by getting deeply (har! he digs trenches! SEE?) involved in the thing.

    MAG, here’s to you. See you in a few days.

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  5. pilar Says:

    love it, john. great story – it captures the essence of why we are there perfectly.

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  6. pilar Says:

    ps – i am jealous! say hi to that dust for me!!!

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  7. Lady D Says:

    I love this story so much!!!

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  8. ben Says:

    Haha, that’s def my brother. But why is he called eric half the time in this story? Did this happen to another guy named eric also?

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  9. dragginlady Says:

    Dude!! I love everything about this story… soooo burning man!

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  10. Carol Says:

    I love it also!!! This has to be up there with some of the all time Great Burnning Man Stories and it has a happy ending to boot! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. kim Says:

    Hah! Such an awesomely appropriate story for Burningman.

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  12. John Curley Says:

    Dear Ben (and Tracy)

    thanks for pointing out the errant mentions of Eric. … I have NO idea how that happened. Maybe Felix seemed like an Eric to me? I don’t know. … In any case, I’ve fixed the post. Thanks. …

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  13. Cynthia Wood Says:

    Wow, John, (wow, Felix/MAG!) what a story!?

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  14. MAG Says:

    Awesome write-up, John. Thanks. I’ve been hanging out a lot with Eric the Orange aka Orange Guy, so maybe that’s how the mixup happened, but whatever, it’s all good. Thank you for sharing my story.

    Anybody who wants to meet up, I’m staying at the Ghetto. My camp is right behind the bar, and I have many folks keeping an eye out for me (although apparently I was more on top of my shit for my second trip last night), so I ain’t losing it this time. :)

    Also, right after this all happened but before I got all the details from the DPW side, I wrote about the adventure myself.

    I’m sure I’ll run into you soon again, John. Thanks again!

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  15. Joe Says:

    If we find MAG wandering this year where should we return him?

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  16. Danger Ranger Says:

    Here’s a 2008 photo of Missing Asian Camp:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10111/2854123450/

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  17. Toxic07 Says:

    WOW, DuDe!!!

    That’s hella story! Glad that MAG got his stuff back.

    to MAG – you know how to party, bro! ;o) Right ON!

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  18. Jeffz Says:

    True burner spirit – ok, I messed up. Take it in stride then come back the next year to help out the people that got me my shit back!! Mad respect for you MAG! Takes a big person to come back after quite an embarrassing ordeal!

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  19. suzanne Says:

    he he.. that is just plain awesome. the ending anyway. must have been sucky at the time. ;)

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  20. M.A.G. Says:

    Awesome write-up, John. Thanks. I’ve been hanging out a lot with Eric the Orange aka Orange Guy, so maybe that’s how the mixup happened, but whatever, it’s all good. Thank you for sharing my story.

    Anybody who wants to meet up, I’m staying at the Ghetto. My camp is right behind the bar, and I have many folks keeping an eye out for me, so I ain’t losing it this time. :)

    I’m sure I’ll run into you soon again, John. Thanks again!

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  21. Blackie Says:

    M.A.G.,
    Please come for a drink at the Apocalypse Lounge camp (4.30 and B). We’ll make sure you pointed toward the Ghetto on your way out. Maybe you should pin your name and address on your shirt like they do in kindergarten; don’t laugh, it works!
    XXOO Blackie

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  22. Bigkid Says:

    MAG, props to another Asian on the Playa, i’ve been waiting to make Camp Anime some day, come to Bloop and share a drink and I’ll GIFT you a GPS so you can always make it home!

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