Well it's been a few days now since Burning Man 2012 finished so I can laugh a little and relax a lot. The last month leading to the event were crazy and I was basically working a 90 hour week for all of August. It was 50-55 hours at work during weekdays, then a few hours after work, and 8-9 hour days at the shop on weekends. It is laughable now, but I had checklists leading up to departure with to-do items like: finish art car/ steps, buy diesel containers, buy dryer duct (measure?), print early arrival pass, take ticket, change clothes. It was insane. I have never worked so sustainably hard in my life. But it's all in the past now, as is the week of Burning Man.
So I built my first art car and took it to Burning Man. I have to say it turned out pretty well and looked cool. My only intention was to see it out there, and I succeeded at that. While it's only been a few days since I got back, my initial conclusion is that this was the worst burn ever for me. It comes down to the fact that I worked like a dog for the entire summer and ended up a taxi driver until I finally said fuck it on Friday last week. That was when I took the event back and started to have fun.
For about one hour on Saturday night, I was on a natural high and had a kind of permagrin. This was the night. That was some cool shit. If I could thank anyone for that, it would be the octopus owner, Heart Deco owner, and all the cool people dancing in front of our art cars.
But all in all, I have to say the actual event was a sucky experience for me. It was a lot of work, and not a lot of reward, other than my internal gratification for seeing the art car out there. And that is/ has to be enough. But seriously, I didn't realize this until this trip, and it was my 7th burn: Everyone at Burning Man is either drinking alcohol or doing drugs. Why this is a surprise amazes me, but I think it's because I used to generally be completely sane and sober about every other day at Burning Man and somehow assumed everyone else was on a similar schedule. Nope. They're either wasted, in the process of getting messed up, or planning to get intoxicated soon. That was a little bit sad to me. And I guess I was in the same category, because I only noticed this when I was desperately trying to get someone else to drive the damn thing so I could crack open a beer on the upper deck. And generally failed to get anyone to drive it. So I was sober a lot last week. I only partied on Wednesday and Friday nights after parking around 1-2 am and abandoning ship for the night. Otherwise by day or night, I was completely sober. And the drunk people all around could become pretty annoying. I'm really at a loss right now if I want to do this again, but I did always plan to bring the art car to at least two Burning Man events. And since it's finished, I guess it will be no problem to take it back next year. But I'll be with a camp that helps out and has some kind of shift sign-up schedule so it's not all my burden. And even a bad day at Burning Man is better than 99% of other days not at Burning Man. Maybe I'll have a different perspective in a month... I'll post some more pictures and thoughts later.