I dreamed I was living in some luxury highrise, looking for a Batman
model kit—it was special, for some reason. … I woke up just after 6
AM Tuesday morning. I thought the dream meant things don’t always go as
planned, but sometimes things work out, anyway. Outside, my tent was suddenly
surrounded by cars, tents and RVs. On the inside of one of the porta potty
doors, somebody wrote with a big felt tip marker: THE BEST ADVENTURES ARE
WROUGHT FROM WILLFUL IGNORANCE.
After coming back from the potties, I went to the kitchen tent and
cooked some ramen noodles for my breakfast. I checked out the instructions
on how to run the camp shower (“No porn” the sign said.), which was next
to the Hookers & Blow Camp. Instead of taking a full shower I just
washed my hair. After Hot Dog borrowed my deodorant I left it behind the
bar for anyone to use.
I sat in the bar catching up on my writing. Gomer came through brewing
some coffee. He was wanting to play some Dawn Patrol Baseball but couldn’t
find a bat. I met a nice guy called Grasshopper, who came through eating
a can of beans. He kind of reminded me of travel writer Rick Steves. Grasshopper
said he had been watching the double rainbow the day before when a girl
came walking by in a really skimpy bikini. It had just rained and the air
was chilly, so Grasshopper asked her, “Aren’t you cold?” The girl replied,
“I just had the best sex of my life so, no, I’m not cold—Oooh, a rainbow!”
I went to Ranger HQ just after 9 AM. They didn’t know anything about
Green Dot training that morning because it wasn’t on the computer schedule
(because it had been set up after the computers left for the playa).
I got sent around behind HQ, and then over to Sanctuary, where I spoke
with Ranger DaMongolian, who got on the radio to Blackswan, who replied
training was at 10 AM, location undetermined. I was told to hang out in
front of HQ until then. Traffic on the radio was busy talking about some
live chickens that had gotten loose among the camps. I spoke with
Ranger Sledgehammer, who was from New York. He had sent his stuff ahead,
but when he arrived on the playa and met up with his campmates his stuff
was nowhere to be found. His gear had finally been located just that morning,
clear on the other side of the campsite. He had found ice on his
tent that morning.
Ranger Bystander came by to talk, and I met a Green Dot Ranger called
Two-Step. It turned out training was supposed to be in Sanctuary, but there
was a participant inside using the facility. As I waited, I watched the
new Alpha Rangers assemble for their mentoring shifts. Ten o’clock came,
so I wandered over and found training had already begun in a near tent
next nicknamed the "Sleeper Car." Kimistry was there; I ended up seeing
her over and over at Burning Man, bumping into her almost every day. Muffy,
a Ranger with a purple Mohawk, was a second year Ranger (a “shiny penny,”
like me) and had purple hair. It was also Tomcat’s second year as a Ranger—I
remembered working the burn with him the previous year. Ranger Judas had
years of experience as a peer counselor. Ranger Jessica ran the Sanctuary
tent at Burning Flipside. Bayou had already been a Green Dot for 3 years.
Ranger Fallout was assistant director of a mental health facility. Filling
out the class was Flyboy; he studied shamanistic breathing.
It was the 14th burn for Blackswan, who ran the class. Among other
things, she volunteered at a hospital in Dallas. We were visited by Ranger
Paragon; it was his last year running the Green Dots. For the class, we
mostly just went over what was in the manual. Apparently, I was the only
one able to download the manual ahead of time. I had my copy with me. Blackswan
gave us “homework” to read the manual, then sign up for a mentor shift
and ask questions. Blackswan encouraged us to have a good time at the event,
I had the impression the Green Dot mentor shifts were starting right
away, but I couldn’t sign up for one until my training was logged in the
database. So, I went on back to camp. On the way, I blocked traffic so
that a huge RV could get parked in its camp. It had to be more than 30
feet long. The girl driving it laughed about driving it through the busy
freeways of Los Angeles. I asked her what that was like. “It was hilarious…
and terrifying!” she said.
Down the road, I rolled my bike up alongside a guy riding a Segway.
He said he could go 25-30 miles before he needed a recharge, and that only
took 3 hours. He added, with a smile, that a Segway really attracted women.
Back at camp, I heated up a can of soup for my lunch. Hair of the Dog was
right on the corner of Silicon Village. A huge bus drove past, taking up
the whole road. Two guys wrassled in the bar; they seemed to be friends,
but they were going at it a little rough, knocking over chairs and stuff.
One wrestler’s long-suffering companion waited patiently on the sidelines.
I sat with Persnickitty, who got to meet royalty: an honest to gosh prince.
She said her thermometer read 46 degrees at 4:30 that morning. A guy named
Steve came by asking about playing on the stage. He was a jazz guitarist.
I pointed him towards Mark. A different guy with green hair did a quick
jam on the drum set. I went for a bike ride. I passed the Duck Pond, across
from a big party camp. Down the street from an art car of a twin-masted
schooner was paddlewheel steamboat art car, about 50 feet long. It was
starting to get hot out.
Back at camp, Steph got me a rum & Coke. The truck in front of
my car was gone. The beautiful, tall buxom girl I’d remembered from the
previous year was back, along with a bunch of friends. Mark was proud that
he’d lined up a bunch of bands to play live on the stage. I spoke to a
pretty brunette girl wearing heart-shaped glasses. She was wanting to perform
on stage but couldn’t find her partner, who was camped somewhere in Silicon
Village. I directed her to the CPU—a bulletin board with maps to where
everyone in Silicon Village was camped. She looked there for a minute and
then took off. I sat and listened to Mark and Gomer, who were jamming on
stage. That’s when I met a very nice brunette girl named Tara; she was
from Don’t Panic Camp.
I began to feel very hot and weary. I needed to cool off. A voice inside
my head said, “Dude, take your pants off.” So, I did. I changed
into my Utilikilt, which helped cool me off, and that seemed like a good
time to take a shower. The camp shower had a propane heater so that you
could shower with hot water—very innovative. Alex had already showed
me how to work it, but I found the unheated water refreshing on a hot day.
The shower was in full view of the whole bar, with only a thin, threadbare
curtain, but I didn’t care. The bar was packed, too. It felt so good to
be clean again for the first time in days. I could feel my hair again.
As I was drying off, the guy dressed as Robocop came through again. I think
he wanted a drink, but the bar didn’t have any straws that would fit through
his helmet. “Greetings, citizen,” he said to me in a Robocop voice.
I got a beer and relaxed in the bar with my Utilikilt. I met a blonde-haired
guy named Robbie. A small group rolled up in a Flintstones car, driven
by a pretty brunette girl in a dark hat & glittery silver bra. She
was joined by her friend, a blonde girl with sparkly blue panties. It was
late in the day, so I went back to my tent and lied down for a nap.
It was 6:30 when I woke up. I got dressed and went to the Ranger social
at Station Berlin, way over across the playa at the 3 O’clock Plaza. There
were dozens of Rangers there. Tables were set up serving veggie and meat
(chicken or pork) tacos, with chips and salsa. I had 3 tacos. Judas was
there, monitoring two different radios. He introduced me to Tiger Eye,
and they talked about the girls that hung out in Gerlach before the event,
the ones who advertised they’d do “anything” for a ticket. A big Ranger
called Sasquatch came over and introduced himself. We were joined by Ranger
Cowboy, from Kentucky, who shared some smooth bourbon with us, and then
a ranger called Number Nine. Kimistry was there, busy with stuff. She said
she’d seen Ranger Katpaw on playa, but it didn’t look like she was at the
social. I also met a very sweet girl called Sprinkle.
I was watching the flame thrower on the Ranger art car when a guy rolled
up on a golf cart. “Is this a public party?” he asked. I said it was a
Ranger party, and he shrugged and said, “Would you like some beads?” I
said sure, and he pulled out a huge handful of beads from the back
seat of his cart. They were mostly beaded bracelets on stretchy wrist bands.
I started handing them out. Two lady Rangers were talking, so I gave them
some beads and introduced myself. The first one said she was Lucious –
“Indeed you are,” I said—and she gave me a hug. The second one was Inkwell!
I hadn’t seen her since the year before. It turned out she missed the Sunday
Green Dot training, too. “I’m mostly working mornings this year,” she said.
Inkwell looked sensational. I had a Ranger IPA beer (appropriate), and
shortly aftwards headed on back to camp.
I rode my bike straight out to the Man, and then down the 9 O’clock approach
back towards HOTD. It was almost 9 PM—that was when Burning Man Information
Radio was supposed to be broadcasting live from Hair of the Dog. When I
got to the bar, however, it was oddly quiet. Mark said two of the performers
were lying down sick, and they hadn’t seen anybody from BMIR. I figured
they were running on playa time and it would all come together later. I
didn’t stay up for it. I was exhausted. As I went back to my tent to lie
down, fireworks started exploding off in the northern sky. I had to be
up early the next morning, so I set my alarm clock for 3:30. I was just
nodding off when I heard the first sounds of instruments warming up on