Burning Man 2005 Friday
Beau Stays Out All Night In the Ball Pit, My Turn to Have a Bad Back -- It Was E-Dave's Turn Last Year, the Kids, DJs Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto, the Critical Tits and Dicks Parades, Skydivers, Kids Falling In Love or Lust, and Angry Parents
I woke up early this morning -- after a night of very little sleep -- because Mr. Beau was out until four in the morning, and I was really worried. It turns out that he was here in Kidsville all along and was just laying in the ball pit with all of the other teenagers, but, as permissive and liberal as I may seem, I truly don't like the idea of my fifteen-year-old son being out in what can be a very dangerous and super sexual environment until four in the morning.
I don't mind his going out of camp and having fun, as long as I know more or less where he is and who he's with, and he checks in with me and comes back at a reasonable time. It was easier when he was younger because he didn't care about things that were happening beyond the confines of Kidscamp which later became Kidsville. He'd go out with friends during the day, large groups of parents and kids at night, and with me, but never on his own, and never for what I thought was that late at night. Now that he's older he's more independent and naturally he's going to want to explore more, and sadly as happens with all kids and their parents, he isn't that into hanging out with me. Or to be fair, he'd be glad to go out with me, if I could keep up with him. We had a blast the other night at center camp, but with my back having gone out this year, (this happened last year to our beloved E-Dave who everyone was depending on to drive kids around in his art truck, and he was so heroic about it, he hooked up this sling thing for his arm, and went our anyway, he's been smarter about all of the driving this year and has camped a small ways away from Kidsville so he isn't quite as much of an art car taxi slave), I just can't do as much and have to be grateful for what I can do -- grateful that I'm even here.
When l went out this morning I thought it was just going to be for a minute because I was so exhausted since I had had so little sleep. I'm normally one of those people who can get up, do something, and then go back to sleep for a few more hours, but not here. I was going to take a note (that a nice guy who had come by when I was doing my Greeter Shift last night), had left with me to give to one of the women in Kether's dog camp, over to his friend (and this is important because sometimes this is the only way that people can find each other out here) and then I was going to rush right back to get a few more hours of sleep before anyone else could see me and ask me to do something or come in for a visit.
I should have waited because the woman I took it to wasn't even up yet, but I thought she might need it earlier than the late hour when I had been planning to get up. Of course I got distracted by the sweet mama women I helped last night -- I did want to check in on them -- talk to them in the light of day -- see that they were all right and settling in nicely with their eight week old baby, and find out what had happened with the drunk guy who had stumbled up to us. I thought he was troublesome and incredibly rude but they were both so sweet about it and didn't seem to mind the fact that he was totally bothering them with drunk talk while they were trying to set up camp with a tiny baby in the dark. They even asked him if he'd like to decorate a onesie for their son with markers. I was being kind and helpful to him but I reached my point of no return when he looked in at their baby and said, "He looks like he's got a little black in him." Oh man, that just pissed me off. Then of course he had the nerve to turn around and make fun of my being offended, people, people, it takes all kinds out here. Not that I wouldn't have given him my last water bottle if he needed it, but there are some folks out here who just don't get it.
I didn't want to leave them with this guy but my back was killing me and I needed to get back to my RV to get some water and lay down. He kept trying to give me his bike and I kept telling him that he was going to need it later. Then he told me the "ladies" would be okay and that he would look after them, that he "was one of the nice guys." Well, I guess he wasn't so nice after all since he tried to grab their butts and eventually had to be shooed away.
Anyway, I stopped by to say hell and they were both fine, happily breast feeding their baby boy in their car. Then my friend Chaz called me over to have a raisin bagel with cream cheese and I started to think that maybe I could stretch my boundaries a little and still go back to bed.
Chaz told me about this guy Matteas who had come in the day before, with his little girl, fallen asleep in his tent and woke up a few hours later to find his daughter had been missing for HOURS. All groovy, liberal, openhearted, hippieness aside, that just isn't something you want to have happen out here. When one of our children goes missing, and it does happen, they lock the entire place down. The gate and the airport get put on what they call "kiddie lockdown" and no one gets in or out until they find who ever has gone astray. It always works out but that doesn't make it any less frightening. Needless to say, everyone was very angry with Matteas, and he was about to be "007'd" which is ranger code for, "Kicked off the playa," but he appealed to someone higher up and got to stay, to the extreme consternation of the very angry Germanic ranger woman who had been swearing up and down that he was, "Out of here, out of here, out of here!"
One of the many funny things that happens here is that you'll hear stories from several sides of an event and never know who people are talking about. You start out by hearing some shocking, upsetting, or funny story told by one person who tells you how badly someone else behaved. Then later you'll find yourself involved in a conversation with the very person someone else was talking about earlier, which is super enlightening -- if not confusing -- when you're good at seeing things from differing perspectives. I can't tell you how many times this happened to me. I have to be super diplomatic and careful with all of the information that is shared with me.
After this bit of conversation I couldn't help stopping by Julia, Jay, and Mark's place for some coffee and conversation. We ended up hanging out in their RV for about an hour telling each other funny Burning Man stories, (there are always funny Burning Man stories to tell -- the dichotomy between the community and law enforcement, participators and spectators, old timers and virgins, the naked and costumed, artists and ravers, conservative parents and liberal parents, parents and their kids, wasted and sober people, responsible and irresponsible people, partiers and partiers and partiers is such a hoot, especially when all of these many different types of people collide with one another at night on the playa, or wander lost into each other's camps), drinking Julia's delicious coffee, and talking politics. Wonderful. But not good for someone who wanted to go back to sleep. Oh well, I can always sleep when I die right? How often can I spend time with my friends?
Unfortunately though I am now so tired and sleep deprived that my whole body is hurting and I have to lay flat on my back in bed in order to write this. I don't know how much longer I can write in this position. I have Fybromyalgia, (an inflammation of the connective tissues of the body that is super painful, is exacerbated by lack of sleep, and makes me feel like an ancient person because I can't do much when it flares up), and if I'm not careful with my sleep I can end up having to spend the whole day in bed : ( I have a feeling I may have blown this precious day. Sadly, with time being as compressed as it is out here, blowing just one day means missing months of art, creativity, communing with other people, and just being out their living.
We have such a great group of kids this year. They're always wonderful but it seems like it gets better with each passing year. Beau and I are spending a lot of time with Julia, Mark, and Jay's wonderful kids, Jo, Tyler, Charlotte, and Ani, our friend Savina, Phil, of course, Vaj's sweet kids to our right, the three sweethearts to our left, and the two boys who are camped behind us.
Beau is also spending a lot of time with Alchemy's son Dallas, (who is gorgeous, smart, and full of bravado that I think masks a kind of deep vulnerability -- he's also really funny), and his little brother, a cute kid with a big sweet smile named David, a girl with a guy's name that I can never remember, because I didn't see The Machinist, and a whole bunch of other kids. It's hard to keep all of these names straight, especially when people call each other by their playa names while their parents refer to them by their given names. Right now we have Goggles, Savina, Cricket, (whose real name is Esther), Phil, Kai, (whose purple hair gets better with each passing day as the sun fades it to a prettier shade of violet), Crouton, three of the Farvres, Dallas, David, the girl whose name I can never remember (sorry sweetie) and at least three or four more, in our motor home, right now. It's nuts -- loud, hot, overcrowded and nuts.
While I'm writing this, there are three kids on my small bed back here, taking a break from the heat, enjoying our air conditioning, music and game systems, laying down and talking about mohawks, and shaving their heads and eyebrows. I really love these kids -- they are all so cool and wonderful in their own ways. I'm grateful that we all get along, that they like and include me, that they trust and let me in. I wish there was some way for me to share my perspective of them with their own parents, so their parents could see just how terrific they are from another vantage point, from another adults perspective. It's hard to see your own kids sometimes, see them in context with other kids their own age, when you're so busy worrying about whether you're doing it right, being a good parent without wanting to be too much of a friend in order to be able to parent well.
A random guy came by this afternoon and walked around giving out playa names to anyone who would stop and accept one. He would say, "By the power invested in me by Burning Man 2005 I dub you..." and then he'd give you a playa name. He was so funny and right on. Some of the names were really good and have stuck with the kids. He called Beau Stratocaster, which considering how much Beau loves playing guitar is a really apt name for him. He named a sweet little girl Perpendicular and she's still asking me what that means. Someone else got Dusty and there were some other really good ones that I've forgotten. He named me Makeup which is bizarre considering I haven't had the energy to wear any. One of the little kids said he thought it would sound better if I called myself Lipstick.
People are buzzing with news of the two super famous DJs who are out here spinning. Apparently Paul Oakenfold played last night and Tiesto, who is even more famous, is going to be playing tonight, but not until three or four in the morning so I kind of doubt I'll make that. I think Savina is going to take Beau. The kids, and my friend Mark, are realllllly excited about this. As long as I know where he is and that he's with a friend I'll be fine.
Savina just brought over a CD of Paul Oakenfold's music so we can hear why she likes him so much, and Beau and Phil, who burned it to his laptop, are blasting it on their amped up sound system that they've set up in the bunk over the cab. It sounds really good. I like this guy.
Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are here (several of my friends have seen them) and I don't know what to make of that, if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I want everyone to come and feel welcome but things are getting pretty big and out of hand and unfortunately celebrated artists draw crowds, oh well.
Esther and Beau are playing guitar now. Beau brought a bunch of his guitars, I don't know how we fit them all in, but I'm glad he did. It's so sweet listening to the two of them playing. Phil is here in my room now helping me figure out how to tape a playa radio station so I can listen to it when I get home. I love Phil, he's so great.
One of the saddest things for me about Burning Man is how temporal everything is which doesn't make sense given that this is such a sacred spiritual place; it's just that it seems like just when things are really grooving, time passes and they're gone. Everything having to do with time is weird out here, I guess that's why someone coined the expression Playa Time.
I've had to spend the day in the RV for the most part -- living vicariously through other people's experiences and stories, getting glimpses of the world around me by looking out the RV windows. It's actually not that bad -- you can't be here and not experience wonder, even if you're blindfolded and sitting in a tent this city, the people, and the energy of this special place is bound to come and find you. All I have to do is pull the curtains back a bit and I can see a parade of beautiful people and things that constantly traveling by, and of course the music, the shouts of joy, the sounds of helicopters, (which is not a good thing because it means someone's been injured), never stops.
Savina left and came back again. She kindly gave me a Black Rock City Psyche license plate holder that someone kindly gave her. I will put it on my car back home and treasure it. We all are constantly giving things to each other. The whole gift economy idea is truly splendid. I tried to donate some money to someone who was obviously spending a lot to bring materials here to share and the guy looked at me as if I had offended him deeply by crossing some sacred Burning Man anti-money line, ack, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking. I just happened to have some pocket change with me that I was hoping to use to buy a cup of tea with and thought it might help defray some of his costs.
My friend's daughter Charlotte who is much younger than Beau was also out late last night and worried her parents a bit. She was with the mayor and his daughter so she was perfectly safe but they didn't come back until midnight. We all had a big laugh because she told her parents that she had been to panty camp where they had not only covered their entire dome with panties but were redesigning them and giving them away. Charlotte came back with a pair and said, "It's all right they're lost panties." Jay, who can be so sweetly conservative when it comes to caring for kids, (and this is just one of her many terrific qualities), was outraged that people were passing out used misplaced panties to children, but then she finally understood that Charlotte, who has a hard time pronouncing W, was actually saying they were "washed" not lost. Although either way it's still pretty weird but we were all doubled over laughing.
Phil and I took Jay's sticker away from her and figured out how to laminate it using a pan and some paper towels. MY laminating machine broke, which sucks because I had planned on doing a lot with it and have brought hundreds of laminating packets and a printer. Oh well. Jay got this little sticker that says, "Hey little girl want a candy cane?" on it yesterday when the crazy Santa and clown parade came through Kidsville. She must like it because she's been wearing it ever since but the glue was wearing off and I figured it'd be lost soon so laminating it seemed like the way to go. Our old friend Dave, (there are a lot of Dave's here), gave us the idea of cooking it on the stove, so we did, and it worked, yeay. Now Jay's wearing her sticker inside a sealed up plastic luggage tag like thing and won't have to worry about losing it.
The kids next door, who I adore, went to a Mutated Stuffy camp or something like that where you can select from piles and piles of stuffed animals and make your own unique stuffy creation. The girls were so cute -- they were really excited about these wacky stuffed creatures they'd made. I have got to tell Charlotte about this -- apparently she's mad for stuffed toys.
Dallas just came back in. He's so cute, he looks like Beau but with a little Tom Cruise mixed in around the eyes. He's Beau's age but he seems so much older. He asked me to keep an eye out for the annual Critical Tits parade that should be passing by any minute. His Mom wants him to take a picture of her. This is the parade of women who all ride around town on their bikes topless. Not to be outdone by the women, the men have started a bike parade of their own called the Critical Dicks. I've never seen it, but I'd like to.
Late this afternoon I was lucky enough to see one of the many skydivers actually land in the middle of Kidsville. It was so cool! He had been circling closer and closer and then you could tell he made the decision to land. We've always seen them here in the sky around sunset but I've never seen one of them land close up. It was such a blast, and the kids went wild. I just wish Beau had been outside to see it. His feet came swinging right by my head and then he landed and scooped up his parachute thing. I ran up gave him a hug and thanked him. I offered him a beer which he really wanted, and then my neighbors got one for him because they were closer. It really was fun and exciting to see someone just drop out of the sky like that.
Phil and Jo just came in to the RV smiling naughty smiles. We all asked them what happened but they acted kind of coy about it. I'm thinking that, uh oh, maybe something happened between them, which would be okay as long as they're both okay with it, and Jo's parents don't get upset. I'm a little sad because I'd always hoped Beau and Jo would get together. Oh well, you can't have everything, and if they're happy I'm happy. Pardon me while I go and check to see if Jo's all right...
The kids said that they were on the trampoline hanging out when this drunk man just came up to them and started yelling at them. This can't be good. I don't know who this was or what happened, if the kids had done something to warrant this because they probably did do something upsetting, they've been doing a lot of swearing that isn't too terrific for the littler kids whose families may not be okay with that, but yelling at other people's children really isn't the way to go. I'm going to see if there's anything I can do.
I'll catch up with you later...I hope.
Great big loving and super dusty hugs,