Robin's Adventures at Burning Man, Part X

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

by Robin Forman

Dressing for the Ball

Twenty-four hours until I sleep again.
The Man burns tonight.

As the time for the Man to burn crept closer and closer I grew furious with myself that I had slept at all that week. I could have slept when I was dead, but instead I decided to waste what precious few hours I had at Burning Man on sleep. Well, not really a lot of hours on sleep, but I would have liked the count to be “zero.”

I woke up conflicted. I was excited because it was Burn Night but that also signaled the end of the event. Yes, I have to admit that part of me was nearing ready to go. I missed Chipotle, shaved legs and not battling with the alkali dust imbedded in my hair and the yarn recently braided into it. But a place like Black Rock City attaches itself to your brainwaves. It’s like the Hotel California: “You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.” So only for a split second were my thoughts able to drift to the outside world before they were lassoed back.

It was Burn Night. Things needed to be done.

I had to rid my tent of all the dust. Because of the two days of dust storms, everything was covered with a quarter-inch of alkali dust. Let me tell you something about alkali dust. Have you ever spilled flour or baby powder before? You know what a pain that is to clean and how fine it is? Well, alkali dust is finer and more difficult to clean especially when you're standing in a dried lake bed made up entirely of alkali dust. I believe the phrase “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” was used to describe my efforts in getting the dust out of my tent and off my clothes.

With my clothes being slightly, and I mean ever-so-slightly, less dusty, I picked out my burn outfit. Leopard velvet pants with a black sequin belt, brown bikini top trimmed with black sequin band, big black faux fur coat that I’d actually worn to a homecoming dance once. It’s when wardrobe memories about faux fur coats from homecoming hit you that you realize that you belong at Burning Man, because you’ve never really fit in anywhere else. True to my pre-Burning Man self, I was running late so I rushed over to D’s RV. We joined the boys at the Voodoo Space Patrol camp and headed off to the Burn.

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

(The photo is courtesy of Robin Forman. To see a PG-rated video of burners displaying their outfits while blowing kisses, please check below.)

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