Hey, don’t flinch. It’s a term of endearment. We’re hot, dusty and prickly out here. A little ribbing helps keep the spirits up, that’s all. It’s all love.
So hi, n00bs.
It’s ridiculous how recently I was you.
Anyway, welcome to Burning Man, huh? Interesting times. Bet you weren’t expecting such radical inclusion. Don’t worry. It’s not always like this. Just recently.
So, you saw the Dr. Seuss video, I assume. Pretty cool, right? Yeah, it really is like that. Here’s the thing, though. Those awesome people in the video are you!
You see? One does not simply watch Burning Man. One burns. Like a burnerly Burner, bro. You know?
No. I’m saying you are going to have a camera in your face out there. Every Burner’s face is like a camera lens focused on the most cinematic scene she’s ever seen. And you are the star of the show.
Do you know your lines? No? Good. If you come prepared with lines, you’re gonna screw them up. Someone’s going to zoom in on you and ask, “Have you seen the liger?” And he’ll have this dead-serious look on his face like, “Dude, seriously, there is an 800-pound liger loose out here somewhere and I LOST HIM.”
What are you gonna tell that guy?
He’s scared. Are you? What are you scared of? Ligers? Or not knowing what to say?
You have to improvise at Burning Man. Contingencies come up. Your tent blew onto the roof of the neighbors’ RV. You forgot clean underwear. Somebody lost his liger.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t practice. Oh no. It takes years to get ready for Burning Man. My first burn was in 2008. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. It’s a good thing I fell in with a rock solid camp of desperadoes who were nice enough to adopt me and my East Coast friends. It took us a few years, and some of us had to move Out West, but I’d say we’re part of the family now.
By the way, where are you camping?
Not sure yet? That’s okay. It’s hard to say this year, anyway. The whole city will be different. The ticket troubles this year affected lots of the big camps that are the landmarks out there. Burning Man going viral means there are a lot more n00bs than usual. That will change the tone.
So we’re going to need your help, n00bs. We need you to make this a great year. But that’s nothing new. Burning Man is made of your participation. We need you, not the other way around. We want you to wow us. Bring your bad selves to the playa and make Burning Man completely different.
Guides thrive out there, not tourists. Burners have a tendency to play tricks on tourists. We’ll give you crazy-ass directions that don’t take you anywhere near where you’re going. We’ll pretend we’re meditating and then leap up and scream bloody murder when you walk by. We’ll moon in your photographs and spike your oatmeal with absinthe.
And that might be the highlight of your week. That’s what we want. Roll with it. Be prepared to be surprised. Be open to it. You’re wonderful.
Your iPad will get playafied. Please don’t bring that!
And I’m assuming that you know about MOOP.
I’m just trying to help. I wouldn’t want you to be unprepared or have a bad time. Burning Man is the best thing I do. I want you to experience that. I just want to make sure you do. It’s not a YouTube video. Those Huffington Post people probably don’t even go.
Photos by the divinely inspired Scott London.