9.26.2007

Robin's Adventures at Burning Man, Part VII

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

by Robin Forman

Once Upon a D Tablet


One dust storm until my Playa Romance.
Two days until the Man burns.

The visibility had been reduced to about ten feet. Everything was cloaked in this swirling beige-white chalk powder and every now and then a girl wearing nothing but a skirt, knee high boots and goggles or a boy on a bicycle in a loincloth would emerge from the abyss and I would at least know I was still in the right place. Funny what becomes the measure of norm in such an outlandish place. I was completely ill-prepared with no goggles and no dust mask. I had to stop and find shelter.

And so walking down the street I found some boys in a parachute-covered dome. I asked if I could come in from the storm. When the storm threatened to take the entire parachute structure off of its hinges I was not at all surprised to find myself sitting in a VW van with my new friends, sharing various intoxicants and stories. This is just how things are at Burning Man.

I ventured back out into the dust storm. Before the winds picked up and pummeled Black Rock City with alkali dust, I had been on my way to grant a request for my presence at the Voodoo Space Patrol campsite.

Soon, I was sitting on a couch with the Voodoo boys enjoying yet another intoxicant when out of the dust materialized this character seemingly from Dune for whom I’d been searching since Day One. Now, true to my default world personality, my search was not a noble one. I had been searching for him because he had offered to share certain substances with me. He had also been my sustenance the night the man burned early.

So here stood before me this lovely boy with hair the same color as the nail polish I was wearing (O.P.I. Nail Polish’s “Cha Cha Cherry”). Some may remember he goes by "D." Yes, as in “today’s episode of Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter ‘D’!” By this point I had already lost my bicylce and D just happened to have a little tow cart on the back of his bike. So we decided we would go out together. He chauffeured me back to my camp so I could change. We stopped by his RV (which is high class livin’ at Burning Man) to pick up the afore mentioned substance. I had been hesitant to try this, but something in me knew if I was with D I would be alright.

So intoxicant ingested and clothes changed, I was off into the night being towed in a cart like the Queen of Sheba.

Now, imagine this: You’re on an intoxicant that’s brand new to you and making your heart race. You know too much of this stuff can kill. So severe anxiety sets in, partially in your head and partially because of the intoxicant. And you’re in the center of a fabricated city in the middle of the desert surrounded by people dressed up like it’s “Halloween on Acid.”

I panic. D holds my hand and hugs me with that kind of hug that make you feel like maybe you’ve found your very own Superman. He let’s me do whatever I want — which is keep walking and don’t stop. He even slows me down and has me go through yoga “sun salutation” because he learned earlier in the week that I’m very into yoga and it grounds me.

But the panic subsided and I found myself happily dancing at the Opulent Temple with a man dressed like some kind of fawn, who, in a few short hours, would become my one and only Playa Prince.

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

(The photo of D and Robin is courtesy of Robin Forman. To see a short video of the dust storm at the 2007 Burning Man Festival, please check below.)






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