But this year friends, it's just not going to happen. The official reason being, "because applying to medical school is freaking time consuming and expensive, yo."
However, something strange has happened. Instead of feeling this deep, emptry pit of remorse and despair I feel.... fine. Even, perhaps.... liberated. Relieved. My home won't be overrun with camping and art supplies for a month on either side of the event, I'll be saving hundreds of dollars. I won't have to drive for a billion freaking hours to get there, nor wrangle the inconvenience of public toilets, hauling ice, etc. etc.
This doesnt mean Im not going back. Lordy, no. I consider myself a citizen and will definitely hit the playa again at some point.
What's funny is that when I share that I won't be going with friends, most react like someone just died "OH, my GOD. Are you ok? How horrible for you!!" Maybe it's cause so very many of my peeps are hardcore burners, but really, kids. It ain't that bad. Even though BRC is a world-class city, it's not the only one on the planet, ya know?
One of the great things about Burning Man is the enthusiasm it breeds. "You can make it happen," I've been told, "Just get there. Sell whatever you have to sell to make it to the playa!" It recalls me to a time when I was still a virgin, and all of my friends who beat me there were acting like they invented fun (which of course they didnt; everyone knows that Larry invented fun).
But really, Burning Man is kind of like Christmas - of course it's not about the fucking presents. I mean, it's about a lot of things but among the big ones are the renewal of spirit; approaching the throng of humanity with a helpful, respectful attitude; counting your blessings; conserving the majesty of nature; and making bigassed art and setting it on fire. And all of these things, with the possible exception of the fire, can and should be done anywhere, at all times.
In fact, I would argue that for those who have been lucky enough to experience the event, there's no tragedy in conveying those principles out in the world instead of being there on burn night, watching the conflagration from the top of my friend's RV and lying in wait for camp raiders with silly string and rebar.
Who else among us is a Black Rock City Expatriot? Who else will be lifting a glass from some far flung corner of the world on Saturday Night as Ol' Neon Whatsisface goes down?