I am going to reference 'hope and fear' a lot just because it was the 'THEME' of the event this year and I like to be cheesy sometimes.
My warm welcome Tuesday to the Playa made me think all my 'hopes' were going to come together and it would be a nice event.
Its always hard to choose the best thing from an event but I got to say the life guard chair on the edge of the Esplanade that I discovered really was the greatest. I sat on it 3-days in a row for a few hours each day and played lifeguard. I asked people to do a swim test i.e.. freestyle, back stroke etc. and gave them candy for their efforts and was given many treats in return - jewelry, trinkets and many smiles.
It was amusing interacting with foreigners who didn't understand the strokes. One guy I asked to do the doggie paddle, he didn't understand but than said 'yes I have a dog' -- which was too funny so he definitely got some candy. One woman from Colorado did the Medley for me and turned out she was a Swim coach and she ended up giving me this amazing bracelet/necklace.
On Wed. the sunset dust storm started to blow my hopes away. I found myself curled up alone in my tent under a towel wishing I would be rescued by that someone special. It didn't happen and I found myself waiting that evening, something I swore I wouldn't do. So my friend and I went out and stumbled upon what I had been waiting for anyways but it didn't really feel like a warm welcome.
Thursday we had a champagne dinner with food brought in by 'Mama' from Gerlach. Pork Chops my favorite! The bottle of Champagne was 4-feet tall, from Paris and over $600 bucks -- a gift donated to Camp. It was another great dinner party with my friends/campmates. Everyone packed up for the evening to go off. I found myself waiting again! This time I wasn't suppose to be, I had asked for a 'date' and was intentionally snubbed.
Burning Man is pretty crazy in the regards that with 40,000 people out there and even with your friends around you can feel alone. There are many many people to 'hang-out with'...but its not the same for those who want to share love, be in love for life and isn't that a hope everyone has (but maybe deny themselves because of fears?)
I had talked to my friend about this, he is making a film about Burning Man and I prompted him to film those 'alone' moments too because they do exist at Burning Man and are monumental for some people though not everyone wants to talk about it. A woman he hung out with that evening actually shared a similar feeling and he filmed her. He himself found the opportunity to express it himself the next day - about wanting love and having the 'one'.
A few couples I knew to really be in love actually left early and were happy to be going back to their 'world' together and had just enough of the event. Than there is the other halves of couples who put their 'other' lives/love on hold and live the 'what happens at Burning Man stays at burning Man attitude" for one week than trickle back into the other life again with little to/no obvious repercussions. Though I really think there is because how honest is that life?
On my way out of Burning Man, a man in a costume on a bike flagged me down to see if I was going to the Bay Area. I was and he had a friend who needed a ride. I said sure. It was an eye awakening experience. The man was 35-years old, 1st time to Burning Man his old college buddies convinced him to go and he promised his wife he would be home by Saturday even if he had to hitch. He needed to come home because they sold their house, were moving with their new June-baby to Australia in a few days.
He had a great story of how he met his Australian wife while traveling in Japan. They have been married for 6-years and every 6-months they check in with each other to see if they are happy with where they are at and their goals. Thru them working really hard together over the years they bought 3-houses in Australia - you can buy one for $75,000. Their last check in, the wife mentioned she was ready for a baby he agreed and than shortly after she was pregnant and he shared the cutest story, in a bit of denial they went to the store buying every test there was and did it over and over just to be sure and took a picture of all of them.
Everything about his life sounded magical, he said roughly its because you got to have that dream in your head, talk about it and things happen... I said I agreed and use the same technique for 'Networking' - that you need to know what you want and be able to voice that want and things do happen. But that I have spent more time enabling others than I have on myself.
I decided to go a bit out of my way to drop him at his families home and we both forgot about the traffic because of the Bay Bridge closure everyone was using the Richmond Bridge. He filled my gas tank up and told me that he would grab a car at the house and lead me around the traffic. I waited in the driveway and his mom came out and thanked me and complimented my bracelet/necklace (the one that had been gifted to me on the Playa). Than he emerged from the house with his beautiful wife who happily waived at me and we were off. They got me thru the traffic and pulled off to the side and we waived goodbye.
The experience really nourished me and revived my hopes. Not that I am the one looking for marriage and kids necessarily but these were people who clearly loved and respected each other and had a determination to make what they wanted happen together. He enjoyed Burning Man but he valued the life that was waiting for him. I enjoy Burning Man but I too know there is something more. I want to be in love, have a great partner to share life with and live 365 days a year like it is a festival of fun and entertainment all the time!