I spent the morning with Support Services. This is the heavy equipment team, the crew with the Cadillacs. They are led by a guy named Big Stick and dispatched by a dude called Chaos. One of them goes by Bruiser, and when asked how he got the name, just says, “Look at me.” And don’t think for a minute that this is a men’s club. One of the operators is a tall smart beauty named Snatch. An orange-haired girl named Roo kicks ass on these machines. She has an amazing presence and a tool-laden, harness-assisted swagger when she’s working. These people are the rock stars of Black Rock City.
Posts in playa
One of the DPW crews has been putting up spires for days, along the Esplanade and down each of the Promenades at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00. During the dust storms last weekend the spires and signs are what got people safely through town. They were about the only thing you could see on the streets besides other vehicles that seemed to appear out of nowhere through the blowing dust. Today at 4:20 the spires crew finished the job with a well-attended celebration.
This morning at the DPW meeting we got a beer cozy. In case you don’t already know, I’ll tell you: DPW swag is cool.
The morning meetings usually last about half an hour, and it’s a chance for everyone to get on the same page with the way things are progressing. Miss Handler emphasized DPW policies for fleet vehicles. Check the fluids; don’t lose the keys; don’t wreck the cars. Dave X talked about fuel needs. Logan went over the daily crew list. Spider announced that the gate is officially up and running. No more 6 mph or unlimited in and out privileges. Game Show delighted in presenting found radios to people who had lost them the night before. (Losing a radio is a cardinal sin here. Don’t do it, lest you be temporarily but severely humiliated.)
The Way It Is
Today was so dusty and windy that it took me about 20 minutes to get from the Depot at 5:30 and the outskirts to 3:30 and the Esplanade. I had to stop completely and wait about ten times because I couldn’t see at all. Most people turned on their headlights so they could be seen by oncoming vehicles. One radio call in particular went out late in the morning that said: “All com, all com, this is Make Believe. I’m in a white truck. If you see me sitting here, could you please come back with my twenty?” That’s how dusty it was.
After a really good morning workout and breakfast at the commissary, I drove to Gerlach to work in the office. Andie Grace was there, and so was Tom Price, Mishka, and Tomas. I was so tired that I fell asleep at one point right on the desk. I woke up to Logan asking me a question over the top of the cubicle, paper stuck to my forehead and confused as to where I was. I recovered and spent the rest of the afternoon helping Mishka. By “helping,” I of course mean “bothering.”
Shade is not a luxury item in Black Rock City. It’s essential. Right up there with water and sleep, you gotta have it. So it should come as no surprise to find out that Burning Man has a semi-professional hit squad of shade putter-uppers working round the clock to make shade for staff and participants alike.
I joined the shade crew today, just in the nick of time for Booty Shorts Day. After breakfast at the commissary, we boarded the big green bus and headed out for the Artery, Burning Man headquarters for Art Placement & Artist Support. Tool belts on, nails and screws loaded in the pockets, and gloves at the ready. Grab a ladder off the side of the bus or a Dewalt out of the tool box, and fall in.
Dude, major dust storm today. Major. But first, a word from our Placement Team…
I got back from Reno last night, just in time for dinner on the playa and a really great night out at Crane Camp. People are starting to drive around now in the evenings, visiting each other and checking out the different camps. You can see multiple sets of headlights off in the distance, rolling randomly down the Esplanade or open playa like a colony of confused ants, missing each other by minutes along different trajectories. As we were hanging out under the stars on couches attached to the back of renovated Caddies, some of the Temple crew cruised by in their rocket car to see what’s up. It’s just like any other neighborhood really.