I've settled back into another of my desert lassitudes.   There's like 20 things wrong with my body, like that my skin is dry, and everything's dusty, and I have a perpetual dehydration headache, and I'm always on the verge of sleep, and if it's daytime I'm always uncomfortably hot.  All this coupled with the immense desert make for an experience more severe than any drug I've tried.   The difference between this and a drug is that this high came on slowly, over a bunch of days, so I didn't even notice it coming.  I'm like the proverbial frog sitting in water that is slowly being raised to a boil, who doesn't even notice things getting hot.  Right now I'm a few degrees below boiling.  Boiling Mann.

Thus whenever someone newly arrives to the desert there's a big difference in energy.  If they're not exhausted from their pilgrimage, they start hooting and yelping and high-fiving and all that.  They move so fast I can do nothing but watch, and they talk in such a rapid cadence that they're liable to cut me off in mid sentence.  I call them FOTHs:  Fresh Off The Highway.

But if it weren't for these FOTHs the scene could never take on the festive vibe that I suppose it's meant to.  All the people who actually build this place simply aren't prone to shoutings or hollerings and most other ings.   It seems we just want to sit back and feel the immense desert contrasting with this little freak city we're building.  Partying just doesn't seem to be the thing.   I think Burning Mann got it's reverence from the feeling that I'm describing, not from the fact that most people out here will probably get laid, and not from the fact that you can do a different hallucinogen every day of the week.

Or maybe that's just my perspective.  As is often pointed out, Burning Mann is so different for each person.  Someone told me how after the festival you'll be talking to someone and they'll say something like "remember the giant rubix cube? That was the center of all the action", but you won't have even heard of it.  To each his own.

I'm getting more tunnel visioned with my projects.   The radio station is going stellarly, now with a sort of courtyard in the middle of the CyberBuss Camp with a PA system playing onto it, and enough microphone slack so we can walk around passing the mic from person to person, rapping away.  Screw that old crap about DJs being relegated to booths.  We also have a sign out on the main road saying "On The Air 88.3 fm" with a little red light on top of it.  And people are listening to our station:  riding around the city I'll suddenly hear someone's radio broadcasting Gespacho doing his human tastings, or the Space Cowgirls threatening to issue fashion citations. 

So to answer that oft asked question of what Burning Mann means to me, at this point I'd say it means working, building, creating, making something in this unbelievably nasty environment, just because I and we can.  It's the ultimate declaration of our ingenuity, building a complete and harmonious and intricate city out here on a scalding field of packed sand.   

I'm so tired I could fall asleep while I'm typing.   All it would take for sleep would be for me to cease motion.  But I don't want to sleep for the obvious reason of wanting to check out this scene, but also because I feel like if I got some real sleep I'd come out of this buzzzzz.  I like this buzzzz.  I like it the way a meth amphetamine tweaker likes his:  the high isn't outwardly pleasant, but there's something endearing about it.

I'm enjoying the hell out of myself, but not in ways I expected.  I expected this to a big party.  It isn't.  Mateo has an excellent perspective on the whole Burning Mann hype thing:  he comes right out and ridicules the reverence people have for it, trampling on their handed down view of Burning Mann as a place to romp constantly.  The best part is that this is Mateo's first Burning Mann, and yet he's a serious player in the whole little scenester hierarchy out here.   Today I heard a megaphone directing people in some event, and hundreds, possibly a thousand people were cheering whatever this person was saying.  Then I realized the person on the horn was Mateo.  And he'll mock all the bumper stickers ("Got Fire?") and the endless war stories about Burning Manns past.

I don't know, maybe these BMann veterans are remembering something I havn't experienced yet, namely those much ballyhooed last few days of the festival, especially The Burn.  Maybe I can't have any clue what this is about yet.   Maybe the FOTHs are righter than I am about this whole scene.  Somehow I doubt it though.

Signing off, about to collapse,

Hugh Mann

Wednesday night
1:28 am playa time


next day


Send Hugh a comment

Get me out of here