I dreamed about cannibals… The Sun was up when I woke up Friday, August 30th. My bike was back in camp, safe and sound. My notebook was behind the stage, right where I left it. Nobody was in the bar. I cooked up some ramen noodles for breakfast. As I was eating, three different people came by looking for Molly. Blurose passed by, headed for the commissary.
I rode my bike out to the Man. The base was constructed so that the only way in was up a flight of stairs, and the only way out was down a long slide. There were a lot of people there, all standing in line to get in, and I was surprised to find it closed. It seemed some guy “tripping balls” climbed up on the roof of the base and tried to climb up onto the Man structure itself. The whole thing was shut down as Rangers tried to talk him down. Ever since Paul Addis recklessly set fire to the Man in 2007, there was a heightened sense of security at the Man.  I watched as the would-be climber came down the slide head-first and landed unceremoniously on his butt. The girl in front of me said, “At least he didn’t try to burn it down.”
I followed the line and climbed up the steps into the base. It was a huge structure; steps led you through three levels. Artwork and graffiti were everywhere. One art set-up was Rupert the Robot, who said rude things when you pushed his buttons. On the top level was a machine that made music based on which switches you pressed. I'd been hearing the tones since I got in line. It was all very impressive. 
At a window immediately beneath the Man, a photographer smiled when I pointed out the Moon was still out. The whole base was the size of a three story house. I wondered what would happen when the structure was set aflame. Would it tip over on its edge and roll out towards the crowd? I had the idea that once all that wood was set aflame, it would be a quick, very hot conflagration. The slide down was exciting. 
Scattered people were cleaning up the remains of the CORE effigies. I rode out to the sculpture called Truth is Beauty, which reminded me of the Bliss sculpture from years past. I remembered Dot telling me they lit this one up differently at night. The form was simple and graceful… except, an 8-year-old ballet dancer thought the figure was not posing correctly. “You tell her, honey,” the father said.  There was a guest book next to the sculpture which I signed. A passing art car played a Jamaican hip-hop version of the "Doctor Who" theme. 
Back in camp, I took a shower. There was good water pressure, and it felt good to be cleaner. In the bar, Peanut talked about meeting his girlfriend. Gravity Mike sat in the shade reading Science News. Rerun shared a breakfast burrito, which really hit the spot. My tent was on the back end of our designated camp space. The RV from the next camp that was parked three feet from my tent coughed out exhaust as it ran its internal kitchen. All week, I wondered if it was going to asphyxiate me in my sleep.
As it got towards noon, I got ready for my Ranger shift. I was scheduled to work in Sanctuary as a Green Dot that afternoon. Sanctuary was a place set up by the Rangers to help people. It's not for people that are sick, and it's not for people that are injured... it's for people that are, for the most part, overwhelmed; a place for them to recoup and get their feet back on the ground. It's not a drunk tank. I relieved Rangers Pax and Roslyn, who were going off-shift. There were no other Rangers with me in Sanctuary, but a charming medic named Leah was assigned to help out.
Due to confidentiality issues, I'm not sure how much I can elaborate about the people who passed through Sanctuary that afternoon. I think I can, however, talk about my own experiences, such as meeting the person who came in with a big problem. I sat and talked with them for a long time. In retrospect, I probably could’ve been more wise or clever or eloquent, but in the long run I don’t think me talking to them was what that person needed. It sounded to me like the participant already figured out what needed to be done, and they needed to say it out loud to somebody to make it real. Burning Man was not a place without consequences.

Another person came in breathing hard with anxiety issues. After I got them calmed down, it was obvious they were anxious because they couldn't breathe. Medics were called in, and the participant was taken to Rampart, the medical facility. Someone donated a 10-foot weather balloon to the Rangers. It was tethered off behind HQ, the breeze making it goose anyone who walked too close. The balloon got nicknamed the Batsignal.
We had a long issue with one person who had a complicated backstory. We were very fortunate to have the assistance of someone from the Mental Health Branch who not only spoke the necessary lingo but also shared some of the same cultural background. The situation was resolved, for the time being, with the assistance of friends and campmates. A couple of people came in dehydrated and and exhausted; they just needed a quiet place for a while to get their bearings. Before the shift was over, I carried someone in my arms, got goosed by a weather balloon, and learned how to break into a locked porta potty (a dubious skill, but hey).
I met Peter, the medic lead for the shift, Ranger Grimm and Ranger Zeitgeist. Ranger Judas said hi as he came through HQ. He was using an electronic cigarette to help stop smoking, and he said it was really helping him quit. Ranger Batman coordinated transportation. We were joined by Ranger Freya, whom I met when I was in Denver for training. (Her partner had high praise for Freya, and described her as a “rockstar.”)  By then, it was almost the end of the shift. My relief, Ranger Flash, showed up, and I filled him in on what all happened that afternoon. He was working with Inkwell, who didn’t remember me, and Ranger Rez. After an afternoon shift with just me at Sanctuary, they had three Rangers for the swing shift. I decided Sanctuary was an assignment I could totally do again. I think I helped some people and made a difference. It was nice working with Leah. She was scheduled to work in Sanctuary during the Saturday night burn, so I suggested she find a good seat in the balcony of the Hatrack. It was tough to leave Sanctuary at the end of the shift. I hoped I did okay. I checked out at HQ and got my meal ticket.

The radio station said it was 92 degrees out. I saw Ranger Tulsa when I checked out and told him the interview went well. There was a band on stage when I returned to camp. They were playing Beatles covers in a bluesy, jazzy style. I got a beer and heated up a can of spaghetti & meatballs for supper. It turned into a beautiful evening. As the Sun went down, Gravity Mike had his forge going, melting down more aluminum into beautiful objects. Apparently, his whole rig was inexpensive and fairly easy to assemble. I met a girl named Mawanna, also called Gorgeous, for obvious reasons. She had trouble getting her friends to get out of their camp and explore the city, but she got them to come to Hair of the Dog. I passed Hey You at the ninja potties.

As darkness fell, I got on my bike and rode out to the Man to get some night time pictures, but they had already closed it off. They needed to prep the site for the burn Saturday night. Fireworks had to be installed. The whole area was closed off, and big lights were set up for the workers.

I rode out to the Temple – it seemed different at night. The shadowy passages seemed to go on and on. My flashlight revealed almost every square inch of reachable space was covered with tributes and memorials. It was all very moving. Riding my bike in the dark, I heard a thunkity-thunk sound. I couldn’t feel anything wrong with the bike so I kept riding. I thought I’d run over some moop. At the potties, I discovered my bike lock was gone. It must have fallen out of the basket, with the key and everything. Somebody got themselves a new bike lock that night.
I rode around looking at all the lights on the camps and art cars. A nice lady invited me in for a spanking. One camp featured a guy playing a slow rap song on a cello. I thought of friends back home who would’ve griped at the travel and hated the extremes of Burning Man, but would have been thrilled at the midnight spectacle. The sheer creativity all around can be astonishing. Even with all the exploring, I got back to camp at a decent hour and went to bed. I had a big day ahead of me.
Prologue  Aug. 21  Aug. 22  Aug. 23  Aug. 24 
Sunday  Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday  Monday 
Sept. 3  Sept. 4  Sept. 5  Sept. 6 & Epilogue
 BurningClam.Com       Original material (c)opyright 2013 by Tim Frayser     tapestry01@yahoo.com 
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LINKS: Emergency Services Dept.  Truth is Beauty  Green Dot Rangers 
Last updated: September, 2013