Playa Magic Exists
Some years are better than others. Some years everything works out as I expect it to. Milestones are marked. We do the things that we normally do, and enjoy them.
This year, or rather this summer wasn’t quite like that. Our family routine was disrupted by other requirements and financial restraints. It just seemed to be one thing after another. Work requirements trumped family outings, family responsibilities overtook leisure, and then, last week, my clutch went out on my VW Beetle. Through it all though, for the most part, I stayed upbeat. I guess somehow I knew something else was out there for me.
On the years we don’t go to the Playa, we always watch for Burners heading that way on the freeway. They are easy to spot, with cars that look like they were packed by the Beverly Hillbillies, piled high with PVC and bikes, lots of bikes. And the passengers in these vehicles invariably wear blissful smiles. Am I romanticizing? Yeah a bit. It’s what happens when you really miss something. So, all day Sunday, every time we saw a car packed to the rim with equipment and bikes, we yelled, “Burners!” and laughed a little.
I stayed up till midnight Sunday to mark the time when we traditionally roll onto the playa, and Monday morning went to the Burning Man website to look at the Gerlach webcam, watching the vehicles go by. Before long I was looking at the pictures coming back, and commented how much I appreciated the images, and how if the Universe were to drop $500 in my lap this week I would definitely go.
Then, the impossible happened.
Someone who saw my comment sent me a message offering me a free, gifted ticket.
When I read the message, I gasped like I never had before. Could it really be true? I couldn’t even speak it when my co-worker asked me what happened. I just motioned her to come look at my monitor.
“No Way!” She said.
I was still speechless. Then I started laughing as I was filled with unexpected joy.
“Oh my god! Is this real?” I said.
There was a phone number in the email, which I called after a few moments of composing myself. The gentleman on the other end was sincere, and just wanted the ticket to go to “a good home.” I don’t know what I said, except a lot of “thank you so much!”
Although I hadn’t planned on going to the playa, I did have a fantasy of going on my own this year, just once.
For us, Burning Man is always a family affair, that takes months of planning and days of staging. We are always uber-prepared. When you go with kids, it can’t be grab a duffel bag, some water and try to survive the week on a can of Pringles and a bag of granola. The shortest amount of time I’ve taken to get ready is three weeks.
But this time is different. It’s just me. No tent, no kitchen to set up, no meals to plan. Somehow everything fell into place. I inexplicably bought nuts, dried fruit, and ready made couscous this last weekend. I only had to pick up some smoked salmon, wasa bread and protein bars. Then I went to the dollar store and picked up baby wipes, glow lights, and a few other basics that I didn’t have on hand. As a matter of circumstance, the weekend before, we had just gone through our playa boxes to find equipment for friends who were going, so everything was readily accessible.
In a matter of two days, I have just about everything I need, save the water, within two Rubbermaid storage bins and a milk crate. I also have two riders coming up with me to split the gas, and 3 days and 4 nights to live out what was just a daydream on Monday.
You see? Playa Magic is Real! Thank you so much Mike!