Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Burning Man

It’s that time of year again. Our library is on Pyramid Lake Highway, the route to the Black Rock Desert and Burning Man. It’s not so easy to see who’s going to the Lake and who’s going to the Festival, but that will change this weekend when everyone leaves. An all-present element of Burning Man is the dust, on the people, on the art displays, on the host of bicycles, and on the backs of departing cars.

The day before yesterday, a bicycle rider came up to me at the desk and asked me how to get to Burning Man. By his build and gear, he was clearly an athlete, but still I found myself asking if he was equipped with sufficient water. It was warm outside and he had hours of riding to go. He dismissed me, saying that he had ridden here from New York. I wonder how he’s going to handle the mandatory five gallons of water per person requirement.

Last night with fifteen minutes to close, I looked up as an Asian woman rushed in through the entrance, disoriented and confused. She looked like she had just stepped off the set for an Anime production, crazy clothes and feathers in her hair. When she saw me, she hustled over, digging through her shoulder bag for a small baggie containing a floppy disk. I realized that she spoke little English when she pointed to the disk and said “copy?” Rather than try to explain how to use our public computers, we decided just to print what she needed. We were printing her Burning Man admission ticket information. She was so pleased and pulled out several $20 bills which she offered in payment. No, we said, it’s 45 cents. She dug through her bag further until she found a change purse and extended a handful of coins for us to choose from. In leaving she dropped a paper. I ran after her to return it and was stunned to realize that she had a cab waiting – taking a taxi to Burning Man just doesn’t seem quite right, does it.

I have two friends who have been planning for this year’s art projects for the whole year. Their groups are in a frenzy of preparation as the deadline looms. One of my friends will be attending with his wife and new baby. My youngest son celebrates his birthday this weekend and will also be there. I am a child of the 60s and the spirit of Burning Man strikes me as a second generation, with the creative energy manifested in art instead of music. Interesting, but do I want to go play in the dust? Nope.


:shazzy: said...

me neither. This is my favorite weekend of the year, to be in the city. The quiet! The parking! ahhhhh.

Birdsong said...

Funny, when I landed at the airport in Reno on Tues., it was pretty easy to tell who had been to Burning Man.. just look at peoples' shoes. You might be able to wash up at a Reno hotel, but the shoes were still coated in white dust... no, the dust is NOT for me, either.