Steph needed help with the shower, but the problem was that the propane water heater melted a hole in the water line. She fixed it with some duct tape. Anne and Kris showed up that morning with Brian Bong. I hadn't seen Kris in years. Erin said she was going to shave her head. Jenn stopped by and returned my pot, which we’d used for cooking.
I washed my hair and brushed my teeth and got ready for my second Ranger shift of the week. At 11:30, I checked in at HQ. I brought a picture to hang up in the Hatrack, and asked if it was okay, but the girl at the window wasn’t sure. So, I left it in the Hatrack near the water jugs with some more gift journals. It turned out HQ was handing out its own Ranger gift journals that year. It had been an “interesting” morning, according to one of the Ranger leads. A morning shift Ranger had to deal with a pet bird somebody brought on-playa. We got word that if anybody reported being locked out of their vehicle, AAA was now on-site. They had their own radio channel. Playa Info said there were over 47,000 people on playa as of that day. Ranger Splinter made assignments, sending one pair of Rangers out to the airport, and another couple on special assignment to the Frog Pond. I got partnered with Ranger Phantom, and Splinter sent us out to the “outer streets” between 7 & 8:30.
I spoke to Linda from Florida. Before coming out for Burning Man, she found a big game bird that had escaped from a hunting range. Back on patrol, we stopped at Sharky’s camp, which had more of Phantom’s friends. I met Barrabus, the bartender. They were just getting ready to open. Down the road, I pointed out the Playa Pail Kids camp, which Phantom thought was hilarious. We talked to Pizza Boy, one of the organizers, who also made clothes the Cabbage Patch Kid dolls they had on display.
At Mudskipper’s, we had to move a bunch of bikes out of the road. We stopped to speak to a guy at the Genital Portrait Studio. Down the road, the Flirt Camp taught people how to flirt, and to do it correctly. That was where I met Super Diva. Phantom’s bike got a flat tire. Fortunately, we happened to be near a camp that was fixing bikes. His was a quick fix, so they moved him to the front of the line. That was where we met a bicyclist from Boston. He rode a bicycle all the way from the East Coast, averaging about 90 miles a day. It took him 35 days to cross the country. It was also his first Burning Man. I asked him what he thought about it so far, and he said, “My mind has melted.” Phantom’s tire was fixed in no time. Adjacent to the bike repair camp was Costume Camp, where they were exchanging costumes, hats and shirts. That was where I met Tabasco, who was amazed at all the cars still arriving that late in the week.
I noticed a bunch of art cars blocking the road down a side street. There were 7 identical cars, all 2-seater bug-shaped cars. As they drove away in a line, we saw that only the last two had licenses from the DMV. We caught up to the ladybug cars on the Esplanade, and when Phantom told the lead they leader they all needed to get DMV stickers, the driver just said, “Well, we’re with First Camp.” That’s nice, we said; you still need stickers on your vehicles. They were headed across the inner playa towards the DMV when we got a call for a Green Dot at Outpost Tokyo. We responded and hurried over there, where I got pointed to the Med Tent across the street. I spoke to the head medic, who said they hadn’t called for a Green Dot, and then got pointed to a tent next to Tokyo. It turned out to be a misunderstanding—everything was under control.
A Ranger on a golf cart pointed out more bike problems. We caught word
of an issue way back on L Street; on the way, we saw BLM Rangers talking
to people at Sharky’s. I slowed down to pick up a walkie talkie lying in
the road, but someone had it on a string and pulled it away at the last
second. "Very funny," I said. On the outer circle road, we found
out the BLM was stopping drivers for not signaling once they were in the
city. When a participant asked what was going on, the BLM guy responded
to him, prompting the call. We joined back up with Atomic Dan, who
got the camps talking with the DPW about putting together some bike racks.
That was good work.
|At a nearby camp, I finally found the unicycle built for two I’d seen the year before. Nobody back home believed me when I told them about it. I asked how people really ride it, and a guy in the camp said the inventor was the only one to “successfully” ride it, so far. It required two people who were the same size and shape to make it work. I was glad to find the elusive tandem unicycle.|
Michael said the power switch for the shower pump shocked him when he tried it; it had to covered up better. Someone wanted to know the Polish word for “sugar,” so that he could impress a Polish girl he just met. Shadow, a pretty redhead with lots of arm tattoos, sat at the bar, and we told bad jokes to each other. I think she was from Oakland. A girl named Kath had a wicker backpack.