Day 7:  I slept soundly, but woke up about 9 AM local time Thursday morning. (My body clock was still on Oklahoma time, and it was saying it was 11 AM.) My feet were killing me. The sandals were chewing into my flesh again, plus I seemed to have a bad case of "playa foot." My feet were in bad shape. I cleaned my feet very closely, put disinfectant on them, and bandaged them up before switching back to boots. It hurt to walk. I also changed into pants; the mornings were too cold for kilts.

I wore pants when I helped set up the stage that day. There were already people up in the bar when I got up that Thursday morning. I met a woman named Meredith, and a very nice lady named Victoria; she was in the bar in 2003 and took pictures of the same people I took pictures of. I gave her my email address, and we agreed to exchange photos. Victoria was talking to Ben, a friend of Joann's. Months earlier, Victoria had been talking to Ben when her son called Victoria "lame," which prompted her to come to Burning Man in the first place. Just then, a guy came walking down the street with a water tank on his back and a shower fixture attached to his shoulders. He was giving people showers in the street. When Victoria saw that, she ran out and got herself a quick shower. She seemed really pleased about it when she came back. Her high school freshman son, who was standing there next to me, seemed to take it all in stride.

It was, in more ways than one, a nippy morning. I wore long sleeves. I met Galaxy, a wonderful brunette girl in a skimpy outfit. She liked being touched. She commented on the cool morning, too, saying she didn't pack any warm clothes for her trip to Burning Man, "except for a mink coat." I think I made a good impression on her. I met her boyfriend, a big guy called Double Dutch. He was a pilot. Galaxy was very affectionate with him. Mark cooked up eggs for everybody's breakfast. I couldn't believe how well I was eating. While I was in the MASH tent, the fabulous Gibbon showed up! He was crashing at a different camp that year. He remembered me, although it took him a minute to remember my name. He showed up off and on the rest of the week. A marching band stopped by the bar on their way down the street.

Before starting on my trip west, I had made a list of all the camps and activities I wanted to visit during Burning Man. Almost as soon as I got to the playa, I lost the list. I did remember the beginning rope bondage class, however, hosted by Camp Arachnid, and I managed to make it to an afternoon session. It was just very basic stuff. I learned how to tie a cuff restraint, and how to bind two limbs together. There were a lot of couples in the class. The guy next to me, who had a black bone in his nose, admired my army surplus canteen. He'd never seen one with a built-in belt clip before. He liked it so much, I just gave it to him. In return, he gave me a pink, bouncy ball. I think I made a friend. (I'm not saying I'm all that into the lifestyle, but I do like being invited to parties.) I went back by the G-Spot, and dropped off my collage of pictures from 2003. They seemed really happy with it. A dirty, mud-splattered car had scrawled into the dust on the rear window: "Also available in ‘clean'." A blue, naked man walked down the street. I was passing the Yes Camp when yet another white-out dust storm blew threw. The Yes Camp had a prize wheel out front, and everyone passing had to spin it once. When I spun it, it said I had to give someone a massage. So, I gave a short backrub to a pretty blonde girl in a wild green fur coat.

Conditions on the playa alternated from windy to harsh to awful that whole first half of the week. After a visit to the portable toilets, I felt especially filthy. I returned to my van and changed, putting on some slightly less filthy clothes. Back at HOTD, I got into a conversation with a blonde girl named Amy. She was from Oakland, and wore a t-shirt that said "wife pleaser." She looked at me and said I "radiate a good light." That was nice of her. We talked about the meanings behind Burning Man. Amy thought Burning Man, specifically the burning of the Man,  represents the impermanence of things. Places are here, and then they're gone. Things are here, and then they're gone. People come into your life, and then they disappear. I got up to get another drink, and when I turned around, Amy had disappeared.

I talked with the dark-haired lead singer of the band Seratonin. The man is completely insane. He brought by a watermelon, and cut up pieces for everybody. I also got to meet a lovely blonde girl named Jennifer. She played bass in a band called the Mermen. She was really nice. She sat with her brunette friend, whom I never got introduced to. I had a chat with Teri, who noticed I'd missed supper the night before because I was out talking. I felt like a bad person, like I had done or said something offensive, but Teri said that if I was a bad person nobody would have talked with me at all. The French Maid Brigade strolled down the street, cleaning and dusting people as they went (very tastefully, of course). I also caught part of the Black Dress March: dozens of women --and a few men-- in very chic black dresses. I drank a lot that night, then headed off to bed at some point. Before going to sleep, I closed up the windows of my car. It looked like it was going to be a chilly night.
 
One of many white-out duststorms on the playa
A marching band makes its way through the camps
The French Maid Brigade
Down one of the main streets of Black Rock City
 



 
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All original content (c)opyright 2004 by Tim Frayser