I'm back. We're back!
I'll be doing a longer Burningman post in a few days, but here's a tidbit:
The Playa was...so many different things. It's almost impossible to say "we had fun." Although, that's most likely the stock answer I will give. But I'm not sure if "fun" is the applicable word here.
We did have fun. Definitely. We also cried a bunch. We were hungry a lot. We were miserable a lot. We laughed a lot.
Burningman for me was not a magical experience. I'm not sure I'll ever go back and I definitely will not be one of those people who call the Playa "home."
Home is Chicago.
But oh holy hell did we learn so much. The good parts? Friendliness, hugs, interest in other people, a world where people take responsibility for their actions, art, creativity, the human condition...two huge things that came out of it for me were:
1. Enjoying other people: I think this is especially hard for us city folk, even today as I practiced looking people in the eye and saying hello was really difficult. I realize I can't bring the whole experience back with me, but to even see the other people in my world is hard. We put our heads down so easily. It's shocking. In the desert you smile at everyone. A trip to the bathroom takes 20 minutes because you chat with your neighbors on the way. Everyone wants to help everyone's good time - people yell at the people on the art cars and the people on the art cars clap for the people on bikes. It's not about envy in anyway. Whatever I can do to help your life be easier or more fun, I want to do that for you - that's not a common Hixx trait.
2. Enjoying the world around me: Everything (most things) at Burningman require interaction. You can drive by a million art pieces but you don't know what they're for until you're off your bike and playing with it. It's not enough to look, this world requires participation. I want to have more fun with the world around me, play with it, question it, make it work another way.
The desert was tough, the dust was tough, the heat and the sun and the noise (it's all techno music 24/7, it really got under my skin) and the people - you know, sometimes you just want to go to the bathroom.
And the tales of decompression, of how hard it is to come back to the world. It wasn't hard for me, granted, my head is still in a lot of crazy places - but money and consumerism is a wonderful thing. I know I know, unpopular, but true. You always know where you stand with money, people are a whole different matter.
And sometimes, you have to admit, no matter how hard you wish it were another way, that maybe you're just not that type of person. Maybe the Playa isn't your home and you're not kissing the playa dust on your way in. Maybe some of the hypocrisy and cynicism of Burningman is just too much to ignore and maybe you should have remembered to bring chairs, instead of sitting on the hot dust.
Did it change me? Hell yes. Am I stronger? Absolutely. Am I glad we went? I'm getting there. Am I going again? Most likely not, unless you take me along in your fancy RV loaded up with hot dogs.
Most of all I'm happy to be home. So many trips away for me bring on a longing for my own city, this trip was no different. Chicago is home. My husband is home. My dog is home. And finally, I am home.
This is me and Harp as far out on the Playa as you can get
The Burningman crotch
The hard part