Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Burn Baby Burn

It's that time of year, when Burners can recognize each other by a shared frenzied gleam in the eye.

It's Burning Man season.

In the months prior to Burning Man, an annual festival of expression in the Black Rock Desert, participants plan, scheme, create and fantasize about the one week event staged on an ancient lake bed in the Black Rock Desert where we build our city. Yes, I say we, because I will once again be going home, and home is what we call the Playa.

With plenty of time to plan, I've taken to making a series of list for my preparations: Things I Need, Things I Want, and Things Not to Forget. These augment a master list I keep for packing, which includes Clothing, Health & Safety, Tools & Equipment, Food, and Sundries. It takes a lot of organization to go out and be spontaneously expressive, which is the Irony of Burning Man.

The level of organization that goes into the event rivals that of most military operations. It's a place where one can participate in self expression without caring what others think, but not a place to be careless in terms of safety and well being. Its very hot, and dry and there's always a lot going on, so attention to detail is of utmost importance. Things like forgetting goggles and a dust mask on a trip to the Jonny on the Spot can prove dangerous when you open the door to a white out dust storm.

This year, I came up with a scheme to raise money for the Playa by flipping bikes. I buy old, forgotten, forlorn bikes found at yard sales or in dusty basements at estate sales, clean them, fix them, and then resell at a profit to appreciative buyers. It's proven to be an effective strategy. In five short weeks, I managed to raise enough money for both my ticket and my camp fees. Plus it's therapeutic giving these bikes a second life and feels kind of zen which is quite appropriate for funding this trip.

So now the countdown begins.

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