Getting Settled In*


I am here at the burning thing.

In that place, where the people they come to experience the immediate moment.

Right now.

The right now of right now.

And to see family.

Friends,  people who you have a connection with that you never see in the “real world.”

Or as we like to say, the default world.

It’s like catching up with friends on the front porch, but the porch is the playa and your friends are all dancing around in their underwear and furry hats.

It’s like the best sleep over party ever.

And it lasts a week.

I saw lots of faces I love already, and I have only been here about seven hours.

I have made one trip to the commissary for dinner, which is where much of the reunion happened.

“Honey, sit down and eat your food,” Marcy, scolded me.

She and her partner Richard work with the water trucks that sprinkle the playa roads with water (non-potable water people, do not do that nasty ass thing of running behind the water truck using it for a shower, it is NOT clean, go find a sparkle pony to wipe you down with baby wipes, or better yet, hit the Cabelas on the way into Reno and buy a solar shower bag).

I laughed, “I know, it’s just that I haven’t seen so many of these people in so long,.”

Like a year.

Time folds when you are out here and all burns become this burn and you have a kind of shared history, a shared learning curve.

“Oh God, what else do I need to bring, I don’t have any outfits,” my dear friend from Paris said to me over the phone.  “What do I wear?

“Honey, you were what makes you happy,” I said laughing into the phone.  “What that looks like for me is pink tights and crinolines, makeup and push up bras and flowers in my hair and glitter.”

“I don’t have any glitter,” he said, “or sequins, or costumes.”

Neither did I my first year, I just came with what I had in my closet.

Hell, I still basically do that same thing, I just bring what’s in the closet and more socks—polka dot socks, argyle socks, lace socks, socks with hearts, striped socks.

“Boo, you wear whatever makes you feel good,” I added,  “if soft fuzzy things feel good, wear them, if nothing feels good, go naked, if you like to have tons of pockets, get a utility kilt,” I concluded with the important stuff though.

“All you really need is water, food, sunblock, and I like to have sunglasses and a hat,”  I said and smiled thinking of the hats I have this year.

Eventually what happens, even if you just get one or two little things each year, is that you build up a stock of things that make you happy and you discover what it is that you need to bring to the burn.

Or who you bring to the burn.

I wish to bring my best self, to bring my happiest self, to gift and to say thank you for the art, for the joy, for the story telling.  I find a lot of story telling happens at Burning. Man.

“You should have seen it,” he said, “it was awesome, we are way out deep playa and I have nothing to wear and she just pulls this Hello Kitty shirt out of nowhere and I put it on, it’s too small, it’s like a half shirt, and I’m in tidy whities, and I don’t know how it suddenly is the next day and I’m supposed to be in Reno picking up someone’s mom at the airport and I’m meeting her at the gate in my Hello Kitty half t-shirt with my big belly and my underpants and some slip on loafers.”

That is a story worth repeating.

And I could imagine the look on Gladys’s face when she met her ride back to the event, but I bet once she was here, she got it.

I can write about Burning Man all night long and I don’t know that I will capture the ethos of it completely.

And of course I write from my own perspective and experience.

Of which I am having a surreal and different one.

One in which I find myself working a great deal more than I thought I would be, one in which I had to take a really deep breath and do some writing about this morning in my room at the Grand Sierra (who’s gift shop lured me in with its fuzzy dice.  I had to pick up a pair for my playa cruiser) and say, please, Universe, help me ask for what I need.

And half the time I don’t know what I need, so this was going to be a big step for me.

But I did it.

We made a pit stop at the Whole Foods in Reno, which FYI, might be the best Whole Foods ever, to get the last of the supplies necessary for the event, and I renegotiated my ask walking through the parking lot.

And they said yes.

And my day went from being a bit anxiety filled to bright and sunny and over the top.

I just had to ask for what I needed.

Granted, I will be working a great deal more than I expected, that being said, I also am going to get breaks and both the parents made it very clear that they do not want to burn me out.

I am grateful to that, grateful for them, this new experience as a nanny on playa.

“Oh!” He said to me, “you’re Carmen, the nanny, I’ve heard all about you.”

Nice to know my name is synonymous with being a good playa nanny.

I can get behind that.

And so, I must to wrap up this piece, as I must be up in seven hours to start the real work of the job.

I am going to do my absolute best to post every night,  who knows what may happen out here, though, the magic of it all is unfolding and I want to be as present as possible to it.

Night all.

See you at sunrise.

Black Rock City.


*Written 8/17/2013  today’s blog soon to follow, just hold on.


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