Burners always say if the default world operated in a similar way to the Burning Man culture and principles, then everyone would be happier and this planet would be a better place.
I’m physically back at work but mentally I’m floating around between the playa and society as it is today outside of Black Rock City. Just like last year, I’ve come back to reality but still want to hug everyone I see and tell them I’m glad they are here. Unfortunately the barista making my chai didn’t appreciate me leaning over the counter with open arms nor did the cashier at the grocery store seem comfortable with me putting a Burning Man metal cutout around her neck and then giving her a heart on heart hug for thirty seconds. No, I don’t have my King Soopers card, but I have some love to give!!
As I walked out of the grocery store, a pickup truck was slowly driving by so naturally I hopped on the back. The cowboy driver slammed on the brakes and despite obviously not being full, I was forced to disembark.
So I walked toward home and saw some people hanging out in their front yard. I approached with my bottle of hooch and jar of pickles from the grocery store and offered them Pickle Backs. They looked confused and perhaps frightened. I’m not sure if it was because it was 9am or what, so I took a huge sip of whisky and then slugged down two or three gulps of pickle juice. I held both out and said “Your turn.” They mentioned 911 and I said, “Whoa, you don’t have to get Rangers involved.” I noticed a green dirt bike in their driveway so I hopped on and proceeded to ride off. I’m not sure why their kid started crying.
A few houses down, someone had a really cool interactive sculpture in their front yard. And by interactive sculpture, I mean three pink flamingos. So I took about twenty pictures and then pretended to ride one while taking a selfie. When a woman came out of the house holding a large iron skillet, I asked her if she was the artist and told her she could put the skillet down; I already had two pounds of bacon for breakfast. As I approached her to hug her goodbye, she ran inside so I left the green community bike and walked again.
A few more houses down, there was a really cool wooden art project that had a swing, slide, seesaw and trapeze. I was surprised there was no propane around and figured it must be one of the few projects that don’t shoot fire. And then I realized they must have been preparing to burn it down. Dark clouds were rolling in and it looked like rain, so I decided I better go ahead and burn the sucker down early. I shot off a few bottle rockets and then I torched the whole thing. Neighbors flocked out and stood around in awe. I offered more Pickle Backs but found no takers, so I moved on.
There was a house being built near my camp, which was nice because I really had to pee. I found the porta-potty and took care of business. I was a little disappointed when I was done. I’ve always wanted to come out to those people that sneak up and roll out a red carpet from the potty to a podium and then cheer for you when you open the door and hand you a trophy and ask you to make a speech. But alas, it was just some dude in a hardhat and tool belt (nice costume man – at least put some spikes on there next time and maybe wear a tutu – it was Tuesday after all).
I made it back to camp and my cell phone actually rang. I couldn’t believe I had service! And that snapped me back to reality. I was at my default home. I could hear sirens all over the neighborhood. Apparently people have fear and assume the worst. This ‘real’ world is not Burning Man. And that is a shame.
I will do my part, maybe with baby steps though. I will always be nice. I will participate. I will do good. And I will give. Please join me.