Contains: spray on sunscreen, cargo pants, medical corset, stripy sweater, fluffy hat, fur hat, light weight shirts, multiglow, pinhole camera, stockings, long johns, ear plugs, hair pins, safety pins, fuzzy monster socks, business cards, belt, condoms, water bottle, fur coat, white chinese fan, lighter, vest, miniskirt, make-up kit, mini-soap, wrist braces, ankle brace, lace bras, underwear, pocket knife, arm warmers, spare glasses, glasses repair kit, glasses case, book to read, book to write in, pen, boots, sandals, scarf, cocoa butter, goggles, cowboy hat, lens cloth, hair comb, chapstick, garter belt, glitter devil horns, flashlight, harness, pit-stick, tensor bandages, velcro, cell phone, tea, dry shampoo, anti-chafing powder, pocket watch, instant cold compresses, band-aids, colour-change fire powder, hydration backpack, surprise for Tony, solarcaine, canadian luggage tags, travel mug, pyjamas, birth control pills, long sleeve shirts, zap straps.
Still needs: toothbrush, toothpaste, medium format film, contacts, contacts case, contacts fluid.
I leave for Burning Man this week. I feel woefully unprepared, even though today I was massively effective. I packed two suitcases, (the one shown here and another less flashy one for fur coats and licorice whips and whatever various sundry is too big for my purple case), arranged food prep for the trip, brought my burner bike in to have a rear rack installed and a u-lock chopped off, picked up some velcro, the missing piece for our countertop dishwasher, and a massive straw sombrero-style hat of improbable size to keep the sun from stripping the flesh from my bones with light, watched a movie, and dyed my hair. All that, and I’m Still Alive!
I’m sure that if I were a different sort of person I’d feel rather victorious, yet even as I survey my tiny accomplished kingdom, I feel terribly vulnerable, like I’m going out to the desert in nothing but my skin. On the surface my fears seem well grounded, like how I almost die every time I stay with Lung, (see: drowning in the desert, camping out in a condemned building), or my deeply ingrained belief, (see: too many previous examples), that the entire trip is going to vanish, poof!, at the very last minute. Yet once I dig deeper, it comes down to this – the sheer scope of the thing. I’ve wanted this trip since I was a kid, yet no matter how much I anticipate and organize and try to be ready, I know I’m going to be caught off guard by the massive reality of Black Rock City.
The rules all state self-reliance, but it’s not, not really. Such a place can’t exist, (nor a trip like this), without incredible amounts of trust. You trust your neighbors not to set you on fire or run you over with a tank, you trust the people who built center camp to know what they’re doing, or the coffee shop people, or the port-a-potty group, the same way you trust your bunk mates to be safe, your camp mates to be competent, your tribe to be your tribe. That’s what it really comes down to. In among all that? I feel broken. I’m terrified. We almost destroyed ourselves in January over the fact that he’ll stick around, but he won’t commit. What if Burning Man is where he decides to leave?