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, too.
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 stage…
Prologue Aug. 26  Aug. 27 Aug. 28 Aug. 29
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
The Long Road Home  Epilogue
Original content (c)opyright 2010 by Tim Frayser
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