Mike on the Playa
Monday (a week later)
Happy Hobo Perspectives: The Cyberbuss with it's ball of phreaks rolled onto the playa yesterday morning pausing temporarily for a cocktail @ Flash's before reaching it's final destination a @ Pi Circle in center camp. Digital Dan & I collided with with the crew outside the petrol pump in Gerlack and joined the processiion as we danced, drummed and bounced our way into this amazing event known as Burning Man.
The wind blows gently across the playa as the first rays strike the dusty surface of the community we know as Black Rock City. It's Monday so the festival has officially begun, but we still have a few more days before the mayhem really explodes. The skeleton of the town is coming together and this will be a big day for setup all around the playa. I stretch my arms and head directly for the coffeepot. It's gonna be a busy day and it's gonna be hot!
And the Burning Man community continues to build. Shade structures emerge; living rooms and mobile bars roam the streets avoiding the occasional double decker bicycle or spaceship motorbike. Right now the city is a buzz of activity as the inhabitants set up stages, structures and bits of craziness which will shape this years' experience for everyone attending. Burining Man is an evolving event of artwork and creativity and this year is destined to be the largest and most innovative to date!
Wearily awakening to the early burn of the desert, I find the Cyberbuss camp moving slowly but coming to life as the phreaks pitch in for a traditional breakfast. A batch of Cody's famous cabana suckcakes sits next to the griddle awaiting preparation. Blueberry, apple, banana, it's all there and it's all gooood.
A stranger wanders into camp with a slightly confused smile on his face. He is not a stranger for long. Avidently, he has written and put to memory some beautiful verse from Burning Man past and requests a little air time. This is what it's all about, I say to myself, everyone interacting, participating and enhancing the overall experience. Here in the playa we all depend on and relate to our neighbors. It's not a party, it's a community; a community which unites once a year to play, grow and share with one another.
The energy grows as the day goes on. Yet another neighbor enters our evolving encampment. This time, our new friend wears nothing but mud. Within minutes of his arrival, we have all moved from our work to gather instruments and lend an ear. A small jam session errupts with Sam and Nicole both taking turns on the guitar. All is broadcast on Radio Free Wry Bread, which is of course functions in conjunction with Radio Pay Per View Cyberbuss, all on 88.3.
By the end of the day, the camp is truly beginning to take shape as is the rest of the playa. It's only Tuesday, but we're told the attendance is already @ 3,000 and will grow to 4 times that amount by the time the Man burns. I treasure the time we have before it becomes necessary to isssue traffic reports on the Esplanade each morning.
Far too stoned to function, Wednesday passed before my foggy eyes even faster than the typical glazed glarey day on the playa. A good morning wake and bake broadcast live on Radio Free WryBread paved the way for an uplifting full day buzz which found me floating about the desert on my pom pom laden Schwinn swirving around fellow tripsters in the roadway like a character in a video game. What an amazing difference another day has made. More and more amazing structures of amusement have been thrown up all around the city. In fact, so much has been thrown up that I barely recognize this place as the same area of playa we pulled into just a few days before. Of course, as I wander around the playa in complete bewilderment, I can't help but think that the ganja goo ball I ate for breakfast might have had something to do with the fresh new perspective I now have on the scene. Coming to the realization that the health of my fellow campers may be @ jeopardy if I continued to ride about, I settled into the cool breeze of the tri-zone and rocked myself into an oblivion of colors and bliss. Slightly after dinner, I had finally landed square on my feet and returned to a state of pseudo reality. This situation was quickly rectified as a group of us step into the Romper Room for a special meeting convened by the Colonel.
Colors flash and contort; a day glow Kali dances before our eyes under the glimmer of black light. We stare in amazement! Next, a psychedelic banner mounted on the side of a large truck catches our eyes, so many faces, so many dancing shapes. We share and dance and relish the reality that we now have no reality. Cody runs up to the truck to point out a new image he has just discovered. As he leaps into the shimmer of the black light, his bum explodes with color as the orange shirt around his waist catches the light. Joanne, Cyrus and I exploded ourselves with an incredible burst of laughter. Shrinking to the dust in tears, we collapse in a loving ball. Cody returns and we convince him to show us the shape again. "I could do this for hours," I think to myself...and so we did. Continuing through the streets of our new home town, we discover a tactile tunnel where soft feather dusters and little scrubbers brush against your skin tantalizing the senses of the skin. Then through the tinsel which seems a shimmering sea of glowing light. Once again, we buckle in tears laughing in fits of beautiful hysteria and having the time of our lives. What an amazing gift, this thing they call life. And what an amazing way to spend it, playing with good friends and exploring the primal youthful spirit which lies within. There's still so much energy in our souls. We head to dance, spinning, shaking and slinking around the floor as colors colors exploded all around us like fireworks in the desert sky.
Somehow, Baby Sage had become lost in the night shortly after the Romper Room meeting. Upon our return to camp, we reunite with our missing link in this small psychedekic chain and venture back into the night for some more play and mayhem. A taxi wanders through the playa. We run to jump in only to find a driver carrying around a man and a backseat loaded with a large backback and all kinds of supplies. "I'm just trying to find somewhere to set up my tent" , he says. We stumble off a little confused and slightly bewildered. "So was that a real taxi?" No, it's not a real taxi, they've tricked us." "No guys, I think it was real." This continued on for the rest of the evening. I suppose we may never know the answer. But sometimes, the questions themselves are so much more interesting and relevent than the answers.
How lucky we are to have such great friends and how lucky we are to be together in this space in this state of mind RIGHT NOW.
So, now it's Monday morning and a stream of vehicles has been making the final pilgrimage across the playa since late last night. Here at the Cyberbuss camp, cleanup begins at a snail's pace as we attempt to shake off the dust and pull out. For the majotity of us, sleep has been slim and chemicals fat for the past few days and I for one am feeling the effects. Reflecting on the weekend which has just unraveled before me, there is so much that has occorred and so much to say. Unfortunately, the words are hiding themselves away at the moment and my tent has yet to be taken down so you'll just have to check back in a couple days for the final chapter. (Happy Hobo Productions-unincorporated and discombobulated)