The playa provides. Augustus St. George was obviously avoiding me, and I didn’t think I had a prayer of finding him – until I finally visited the Temple for the first time this year (thank you, Polaris, for the ride), and stumbled into the wedding of a friend of mine from elementary school. I’ve been missing this guy for years – when his family moved to Japan I “loaned” him my favorite book so that he’d have a reason to see me again and return it. Never happened. But here he was, getting married – and he actually knew where Augustus was today. It’s powerful magic out here. Read part 1 in this series here; part 2 here; and part 3 here – Caveat
Hiding at Burning Man is a lot like trying to sneak through a circus. It matters who you’re hiding from. There’s a lot of things to distract the rubes:, but the clowns are a tight knit group who know where to look.
Burners who barely know anyone outside their camp will never find you, and will probably stop looking after they’re drafted into a light saber battle pitting Darth Maul against Cookie Monster. The eternal struggle. But veteran burners have networks, and they’re not so easily distracted by zombie gospel choirs on pirate ships. Go anywhere near their people, and they’ll run you down.
Even worse, they know who your people are. The minute they want to know where you’re hiding, they’ll start interviewing everyone you’ve ever slept with. No matter how drunk you were.
To escape the social mafia that runs Burning Man I make sure I take a different car every year, with different plates. I change tents every year, and decorate it with just enough blinkies to look like I’m not trying to be anonymous. And I pitch myself in the middle of walk-in camping, where I’m surrounded by neighbors who might share their morning eggs but don’t actually care who I am … and none of them have ever met Larry Harvey.
It’s the perfect set-up for privacy – or so I thought. But I knew I’d been made when I got back to my tent in the morning, and it was unzipped. I thought about bolting, but without an anonymous place to sleep they’ll find me anyway. The only alternative is to sleep with strangers, and I’m not that guy. I have a stoic wit where my game ought to be.
So I walked in. The tent was just big enough to stand in, but Michael Michael – Danger Ranger himself – was sitting in my only chair, twiddling his thumbs. (more…)