9.24.2007

Robin's Adventures at Burning Man, Part V

(This is the fifth part of a multi-part series about the Burning Man Festival. To read this series from the beginning, please go here.)

by Robin Forman
Special to iVoryTowerz

Bunnies, Bikes & Bathrooms


Six hours until I lose my bike and my mind.
Three Days until the Man burns…again.

On what is called TuTu Tuesday (that means you had to wear a tutu, and thank goodness I’m a ballerina!) they took the Man away to be rebuilt.

On Wednesday, I altered my mind to make the memory of the premature burn easier to digest.*

My friend Sarah and I decided it was time to give back to the Burning Man community…not to say that the two of us hadn’t been giving our fabulous selves to the community all week, but we needed to do more. Sarah and the previously mentioned Jasmine (the girl in turquoise lingerie) had quickly become my best friends at Burning Man.

Jasmine was off doing her thing with her fellow Oregonians so Sarah and I headed to the Lamplighters to help light the city for the evening.

After doing our part to be good…Sarah and I took care of our part to be bad.

Altered minds and all, we boarded our bikes and rode to the Esplanade. The Esplanade is the last part of the city before it opens up onto the desert scattered with artwork. This is where all the happening bars and clubs are as well as the Burning Man staples like Lamplighters.

We decided it was best that we no longer have our bikes because in about 20 minutes they were going to get very hard to handle and there was no way we were going to be able to ride them.

So Sarah chained them together. And in our addled states, we remember chaining them to a lamp post…but we never saw those bikes again.

So off we wondered into a sea of EL wire** and fur to a white tent that was playing music and projecting images on one of the tent's walls.

We couldn’t handle it. In fact, we couldn’t handle anything on the Esplanade. It was all too much. Imagine that you had used a mind altering substance that blurs together imaginary and real while you were at an event where everyone was in elaborate costume and character 24 hours a day.

We headed for the bathrooms. When you’re in some kind of Halloween town in the middle of the desert there’s something profoundly grounding and comforting about a port-a-potty. I kid you not. I actually had a few other burners tell me that they had similar feelings. Sarah and I also felt like we were going to be sick.

I spent a long time going in and out of one particular port-a-potty as Sarah continuously called out to me to make sure I was alright.

The moon was full and so Sarah and I decided that walking along the side streets under the moonlight was the best route to go. We were both wearing white puffy vests and at some point in our constitutional we decided this somehow made us bunnies. Not rabbits, but bunnies. And this required that we hop…for that is how bunnies get from point A to B. Arms linked at the elbow, Sarah and I hopped.

In fact, we had somehow wound our way back to our own campsite and we were hopping right in front of it. One of the other gypsies informed us that some guys from a camp just across the street from us had set up chairs in front of the port-a-potties nearby. They were having a “port-a-party” which involved them applauding and cheering for people coming in and out of the port-a-potties. Sarah and I agreed that there was no better way to close our evening than with our old friends the port-a-potties at a port-a-party.

“Just don’t tell them about the bikes,” Sarah whispered.

*From here on out when I am referring to altering the state of my mind with an illicit substance I will refer to it as “intoxication” or “altering my mind.” You can interpret that as you will. (Insert a Scooby-Doo giggle here.)

**EL wire is the common term for electroluminescent wire.

(To read the preceding part, please go here. To read the next part, please go here.)

(The photo shows Robin and Sarah at Burning Man. Photo courtesy of Robin Forman. To see how Burning Man was depicted in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle from 2005 on FOX, please check below.)






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