In order to sum up what Burning Man is like for those who have never been there: at some point on Saturday morning/afternoon, Justin and I were hanging around camp and his friend Sunshine burst in, wearing a striped sweater, chaps, and false silver vampire teeth. "It's time to go!" he said. Justin immediately started following him, even before asking why. "My new girlfriend is about to pee in some guy's mouth!" Sunshine explained excitedly as they ran off.
The reason this is so quintessentially Burning Man is because I actually misheard him and thought he said his girlfriend was going to pee in some guy's DUCK. And either of those could have been accurate. (Turned out, she had stage fright and couldn't pee at all, for pancakes or otherwise)
Also in our camp this year was Anti M's nineteen year old Mormon-raised actual nephew. He had a great time. He stayed out all night. He wore fuzzy pants. He learned a bunch of knots at a bondage camp and used them to help tie people's tents down. On Sunday, he said to me that Burning Man was so different from Salt Lake. "Before I saw you," he said, "I had never seen anything that short."
"What?" I said, taking umbrage, since my 5'4" is actually average height, thank you very much.
Turns out, he actually meant what I had been wearing when we met -- viz, a shirt and a pair of panties, no pants. Then, he added with unusual fervour: "I also never saw so many attractive girls before." I hope he got laid.
For me, I spent a very mellow Burning Man. This year was different for me: my life outside of Burning Man is so filled with wonder and excitement and traveling and happiness and joy and creativity that being at Burning Man was unfortunately a bit of an anticlimax. I had all these good intentions -- staying out late dancing, meeting new people, volunteering for a greeter shift -- and instead mostly what I did was hang out with old friends and get about ten hours of sleep every night. It's the same old crazy wonderful ride, but I just don't need it as much.
Of course, GETTING to Burning Man involved playing escort vehicle to a crazy flame-painted schoolbus that rarely went faster than 45 miles per hour, through the middle of several hallucinogenic sleep-deprived nights where I would wake up and find someone else driving my car. Leaving Burning Man, we only had a forty five minute wait at most, and I had a wonderful rideshare named Matt in the car with me.
We stopped somewhere in Oregon for the night, at a motel reminiscent of the Bates if the Bates was run by a woman (an actual woman instead of someone in a woman suit), after driving through a tiny corner of California and seeing progressively fewer Burning Man vehicles on the way. Something about a dusty RV covered with bikes driving real slow makes me want to wave at them. :)
Then we drove up to Seattle and stayed in a hippie rotating-house with some friends of Matt's, who were super sweet and amazing. The house was supposedly in the "ghetto", but if that's the ghetto of Seattle, then sign me up. Huge rooms, wood floors, congenial vegan food (that probably doesn't come standard), wonderful company, people who make me tea. I stayed on their couch and woke the next morning to go to a bakery where one of the aforementioned roommates worked, where she gave us drinks, a croissant and gave me a loaf of fresh crusty olive bread for the road.
Then I drove across the border, where I got enthusiastically tossed for drugs (note: even if it's the truth, don't tell the border officials you're coming back from Burning Man), and took the beautiful, islandy ferry ride to Victoria, BC, where I am now. Here, I have Jason, and my beautiful, wonderful, loving ersatz family, whose names I shall not mention to protect their online privacy. :) I've been shopping for organic food, and snuggling, and holding hands, and eating delicious food, and meeting new people and new friends and generally feeling safe and cozy.
Except that I need to have my engine washed. Probably Monday.