Day 8, Friday, September 2: I was up at dawn Friday. I heard something. The edges of the tarps over my van were flapping. The weather had been gorgeous all week, but that noise told me the winds had returned. I crawled out of the back of Satori and squinted at the rising sun –and saw someone sitting on the roof of the bar. It was Billy, still in his zebra costume. He waved. I started taking my extra rolls of toilet paper and leaving them at the porta-potties. I didn't want to have to take them back home. I drank a Pepsi, and then went for a walk.

The wind had picked up a big, but wasn't bad. It was breezy, but comfortable. The sky was clear, the sun very bright. I walked all the way out to the Esplanade. There was much more art all over the place than there was in 2004. That was a big improvement. Dicky was asleep inside his plastic box. On my way out to the Man, I picked up litter (MOOP) as I went: a sprig of tinsel, a screw, a plastic bluebonnet flower. At the Man, the wind was making the flags and canvas flap and snap. I went through the maze again, and found some rooms I hadn't seen before. Up on the top platform, I saw some Rangers keeping watch. I got somebody to take my picture.

Back down and through the maze again, I walked over towards Center Camp, passing the amazing Colossus statue. At Playa Info, it said there were 25,000 people on site as of Wednesday. That was amazing. On my way back to camp, I went down the street called Ego. Still no familiar faces. I took pictures during the amazing breakfast that morning, washed down with a bloody Mary from Pigmalion Camp. I had a small metal cup for drinks, so they made me a "wee" drink. Someone came by the camp giving away some funny Simpson's bumper stickers. I got an extra one for Marilyn. There was a pretty good crowd in the bar that day. Gomer got the music going, and it was a pretty steady show all afternoon. People were coming and going and having a great time. Somebody requested "Freebird." I met a girl from San Francisco named Melissa. She said she was having a "good burn." I met a great couple named Kas and Esther; they just drove up from San Francisco the day before.  Mark, a guy from Vancouver, had his hair in sort of a Mohawk. While we were sitting there talking, a girl drove her bike all the way into the bar, announcing that she was the Lube Fairy. She began to give away condoms and packages of lube to everyone. And there was much rejoicing. She asked me if I needed any condoms, and I said, "No, thanks. I'm covered." A girl at the bar thought that was hilarious. When the Lube Fairy left, everyone stood and waved goodbye. "Thank you, Lube Fairy!"

Foot and bicycle traffic down the street was steady all day. The campsite had really filled up with people. I was delighted to see Galaxy again when she dropped by. She was going by "Raven," that year; she liked to go by bird names. She was camping with a group called Temple of Venus, and gave me a little kiss when she left. A guy named Pat Quinn from Berkley came by wearing a Homer Simpson mask. He even had a can of Duff Beer with him. I got to talking with a blonde girl named Sharon. She talked about her camp at 9:00 and Catharsis, which was called Porn & Eggs. They served scrambled eggs, and showed porn. It sounded like something I'd want to check out. Right about that time, however, I had to hurry over to the Esplanade in order to catch the annual Critical Tits Parade. It was providence that the winds died down just then, and the weather was perfect for a bike ride. With boobies. Hundreds and hundreds of women, riding on their bikes topless. . I saw Galaxy/Raven among the riders, and got a picture of her and Anne as they rode by. What struck me was how happy everyone was– for the women riding, as well as the people watching, there was an overwhelming sense of joy. Everyone was smiling and laughing. The air seemed to sparkle, it was all so happy I couldn't help but feel exhilarated, and I went back to camp with a spring in my step. When I saw Anne later, she said she wasn't in the parade. Did she have a clone?

The sound of power tools greeted me when I returned to camp. Billy and some others were making a new sign to go on top of the bar. Tigger announced that supper would be ready about 7:30 or 8. I helped Parisa set up her Lucy psych booth, and immediately she started getting customers, asking for advice. She even had her hair done up like Lucy. Spanky was on stage, singing with the band. The wind picked up, and we had a couple of white-outs, but nothing like the year before. I had the idea of getting a friend of mine to make me a kite that looked like a dome tent, just to freak people out on windy days. I met a red haired girl named Mackenzie. She wore her goggles on her hat, and was impressed with Star's Burning Man necklace. I met an astounding blonde girl from England named Debra. I think she said she was from Gloucester. Debra had a delicious accent, a keen eye and a sharp wit. She described her camp as the one with the tower, "across the street from the airplane." It sounded like it was just a block from Porn & Eggs. I met a guitar player named Rachelle, who could play either base or rhythm.

Supper was taco salad, and it was terrific. I got out the chips and salsa I had brought, and that really hit the spot. In the desert, salty food tastes really good. All week, I had been using my digital camera exclusively for pictures. The 35mm was safely wrapped up in plastic. I wanted to protect it against the intrusive playa. That night, however, I got out the real camera and rode out to the Man for some pictures. It was just my luck that a huge white-out dust storm kicked up while I was on my way. It was just awful–I couldn't see a thing. The winds let up just long enough for me to get some shots of the illuminated Man. They had the figure lit up in several different colors of neon. I hoped the pictures turned out okay. Most of the big art projects on the playa had generators nearby to provide lighting at night. On my way back, I saw a guy crash his bike over some artwork that wasn't lit up. He wasn't hurt, but he was pretty mad about it. I took my camera back and secured it in my car again.

I decided to change clothes and go riding around. I don't know what my problem was, but every time I started out, I'd remember something I forgot to bring: goggles, handkerchief, canteen, something. About the third time I turned around to go back, I turned in towards the bar and suddenly saw the guide wires for a tent. I swerved, and went crashing to the ground. I sat there for a moment. I wasn't hurt, but I sure felt stupid. Somebody ran out to see if I was okay, which was good of them. I wasn't in a pleasant mood when I finally took off on my bike. I passed the Snuffelupabus –a bus covered with brown fur and made to look like the Snuffelupagus from "Sesame Street." Another art car was made to look like a giant Cheshire Cat. I found the tower Debra described, just down the street from Whiskey & Whores, it turned out. The camp there was getting their own art car ready to roll. I asked about Debra, and they said she was around, but asleep in her tent. Across the street was a camp with a very neat sculpture. It looked more like a crashed Zeppelin than a plane, though. I walked down past the 9 o'clock plaza and found Porn & Eggs. It was a big MASH tent, with "rooms" draped off to the side.

I went inside, where the camp had some porn movies showing on one of the tent walls. They were also serving Margaritas. All the chairs were taken, so I sat on the floor. Several couples were making out. A beaded curtain covered a doorway to the back rooms. Through the beads, I could see mattresses, and arms and legs akimbo. Were they making their own porn back there? The bartender didn't know Sharon, but he was just helping out and wasn't part of the camp. I looked around, and saw about a half dozen couples making out all around me. The eggs could have used a little Tobasco. I finished my drink and went back to the tower. Everyone was gone, and they took the art car with them.

I got on my bike and rode out onto the playa. Each of us has buttons-- words, images, sounds or whatever--  that bring back unpleasant memories and trigger negative emotional responses, and it seems that Friday night all my buttons got pushed. I felt lost, old, stupid, ugly, lonely... I wandered around aimlessly. It was a particularly low point for me, emotionally.   I felt awful... and just then, I heard a voice say, "Would you like some advice?" I looked up, and I was standing next to a little lemonade stand that said "Advice." I replied, "That's a loaded question." The girl behind the stand came around and gave me a big hug, which helped. I must have looked bad off, because I think her boyfriend hugged me, too. I told her I knew everything was temporary, and that in the morning I'd feel better, but right then I felt really, really bad. I hoped I could find joy again. She told me that there was joy inside me already– I didn't have to look for it, it was already there. I just needed to focus on the joy within me, and hold on to it, and not depend so much on getting joy from other things ... or other people. I started to feel a little better. I thanked her. I felt drained, but things didn't seem quite so hopeless anymore. I didn't even catch her name.

Back at camp, the new HOTD sign was up, and it looked great. The experience had taken a lot out of me. I felt hollow. There was a band playing on stage, so I just got a drink and sat down to listen. Sitting and doing nothing seemed like a good idea. Right about then, Jenn showed up and sat down next to me. We just sat and talked for the longest time, and I felt really comfortable with her. The stress seemed to melt off me. Just sitting and talking became a healing experience. She gave me her card, which I spirited away into a safe place. Gomer appeared, and the two of them left for parts unknown. I went back to the van, crawled into the back, and pretty much passed out. It was still dark when I woke up. I felt like I'd just driven 50 miles of bad road, but life seemed much more worth living again. I could breathe again. Outside, the stage was empty. The air was crisp. Lisa D., Spanky and several others were bundled together at the bar, talking. It must have been 3 or 4 in the morning. Parisa was there, and we talked briefly. I made my way back under my blankets and fell asleep.

Me, at the Man
Mealtime in the MASH tent
The Lube Fairy visits 
Even celebrities showed up at Burning Man!
D-Mo and Gomer Hendrix 
The Critical Tits Parade
Beginnings -- Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 -- Day 5 -- Day 6 -- Day 7 -- Day 8 -- Day 9
 Day 10 -- Day 11 -- Day 12 -- Day 13 -- Endings
The Dicky Box 
All original content (c)opyright 2005 by Tim Frayser 
Last Updated: September, 2005