I washed my hair, went to the porta potties, and got dressed for my Ranger shift. Breakfast was a can of V-8. It was suggested to me to try wearing socks with my sandals. That helped cushion my feet. I found that if I rolled my right foot with every step, it didn’t hurt to walk. I walked over to Ranger HQ and reported for duty. I was issued a radio, but I had to make a run back to camp because I needed my ID. All that was in my wallet, back at camp. I had all my gear in my hydration pack, but I still forgot my goggles. I hoped it would be a quiet morning, wind-wise.
Ranger Grofaz made the assignments and sent me out with Twinjammer, an experienced Ranger with 2 kids back home. He’d been on-playa for two weeks. We were to patrol everything between 6 and 8 O’Clock. We walked over to Center Camp and had a cup of hot tea (one of the Ranger perks) and talked a little. Twinjammer said he’d gone camping in Yosemite Park many times. We walked out to the Esplanade, where we saw a colorful hot air balloon being set up for launch. It was a quiet morning, not many people out at all.
Walking along the outer road, we spotted someone on a bike riding along the orange perimeter fence, way, way out on the playa. TJ thought he was on some motorbike, but I thought I could see him pedaling. We took a break in some shade and watched the Sun come up over the playa, a sight that never gets old. Off on the playa, the Man was framed by far-off Trego Peak. I shared some beef jerky with TJ, and he gave me a Cliff bar. We’d both packed snacks. TJ found a very cool medallion on the ground. He kept finding all sorts of cool stuff; I just found moop: junk and garbage. We found one of the stops for the Nowhere Bus, a double-decker British bus that ran a regular schedule around the whole campsite. Off in the distance, I spotted the Cupcake Cars! I love those guys. The radio brought a call for a Green Dot Ranger on Jurassic Street, out of our patrol area.
I changed clothes and headed off to find the Commissary. I followed the directions, and found myself heading into a camp with no signs, flags or anything that would draw attention. Through a door, there was a huge tent. I could smell food. Inside, I presented my coupon and got a tray. Lunch was sloppy Joes, with potatoes, salad and juice. A real meal! I sat down at a table with a guy called Big Daddy Nate. He was one of the truck drivers that brought ice into the city. “we’re looking to move a million pounds this year,” he said. I spotted Wild Child at another table, talking to someone. Madalene from Pandora’s came by with a tray of food. She said her camp was “keeping busy” with bicycle repairs. She also heard the Wedge, which I chickened-out climbing, was a “menace,” with people ending up with all kinds of scuffs from it.
I finished eating and went back to camp. I found the khaki shirt I had
mentored in and took it over to Silkscreen Camp. There were about a half
dozen people in line in front of me. The guy directly in front of me “didn’t
get the memo” and brought a black t-shirt to be silkscreened. The
image would not show up on black cloth. The camp was nice about it and
just gave him a new shirt. They silkscreened the 2009 ticket onto the back
of my shirt, and put an original graphic on the front pocket. Then, they
ran the shirt through a little oven to bake in the colors. It looked great!
On my way back I got a cup of mead from the homebrew camp. By then, it
|At HOTD, there was a stage full of musicians jamming. The music was
heavy and nonstop. Two young burners juggled off to the side. There was
a cantaloupe left over from the wedding, so I cut it up and left it for
people at the bar. That was the last time I saw my blue plate. The bar
was packed. A girl in a tan ball cap shimmied to the music. The wind picked
up. I thought I saw Gibbon playing onstage. A pretty brunette girl in a
turban got up to sing.
I got my camp chair from next to my tent and pulled it over to the bar. I sat with my sandals off to air out my feet. The music was constant. A sax player showed up, and everyone was having a good time. The big heart decoration still hung over the stage. A guy next to me smoked a joint. While I was making some notes, a dusty guy asked me what I was writing. “Just random stuff?”
|I decided to cook up some supper of my own. I called it playa pasta: 1 cup of macaroni, one tomato, 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Dice the tomato, boil and strain the macaroni, add the tomato sauce, diced tomato and seasoning. Eat. It turned out better than even I expected. I cleaned up by sopping up the sauce with bread and rinsing out the pot with water. Done and done. Dawn the French maid walked by as I was digesting. By then, it was 6:45, and the sun was very low in the sky.|
|Back at the bar, I asked the bartender how he was doing. He was doing
fine, and asked me how I was doing. “I’m okay,” I said, not feeling completely
okay, but enough to make it stick. I kept thinking about Dad. Most of the
pictures we had of him were staged, posed—there were very few of him just
being himself. If someone told me they had pictues of him just cutting
loose and having a good time with his friends, wow, I’d give almost
anything to see them. Ten years gone, and I still missed him. I hoped people
weren't mad at me for trying to take a picture, but it’s candid pictures
that always capture a person’s real character. I got some vinegar from
Dot and soaked my feet for about a half hour. I really needed the swelling
in my feet to go down by Saturday night. There was also a disturbing black
bruise of unknown origin on my right big toe.
Pandora's Lounge & Fix-it Shoppe
The Yellow Bike Program
2009 Theme Camps