NewBeIn's Guide To Burning Man
Things were different this year. There was a large influx of NewBeIns in Black Rock City. These people didn't know what Burning Man was about and what was expected of them as citizens of our Great and Wonderful City.
I hope this brief guide will help the NewBeIn get into the swing of things and become a welcome and joyful participant in next year's Burning Man.
First, Burning Man is not a place to burn your trash. People were throwing their empty beer bottles, camp trash and old furniture into the fires created by artists who were burning their art. Many of them planned their exhibits carefully so that there would be nothing left on the playa but ashes. Then some NewBeIns came along and tossed glass, metal-framed furniture, plastics, and other junk into the fire and left the mess for the artists to clean up. Don't do it. Take your stuff home with you when you leave. If you make a mess, clean it up.
Second, Participate. Get involved in a theme camp or activity. Volunteer to Ranger, build exhibits, pick up trash. There's lots to do in a big city -- get involved. It's fun to appreciate nudity. Don't just stand around gawking though -- strip down and enjoy the freedom.
Third, Animals. I'm not going to tell you not to bring your pet. Consider this though -- you've brought sunglass so that you don't burn out your retinas with UV radiation. You've brought sunscreen to protect your delicate skin from the harsh, unrelenting sun. You're able to shed layers of clothing when you're uncomfortable wearing them. You've brought a dust mask so that you can breath during the occassional white-outs we get when the wind throws tons of dust into the air. You know to drink plenty of water so you'll piss clear. What about "Fido"? I'm sure you'll find ways to help him adapt to one of the harshest environments on earth. Also, you'll look great with your silver-painted naked body, fairy wings and that plastic bag of dog shit tied to your belt.
Fourth, Community. Black Rock City is a very diverse community made up of people with a vast range of interests. No one should have someone else's trip imposed on them. Be a considerate member of the community and keep in mind that not all of us want to dance all night as much as we might like technotrance or whatever.
Fifth, Rangers. We're not cops, snoops, snitches, or narcs. We're also not living maps who know where your friends are camped in a city 1/3 the size of San Francisco. Our primary job is protect your life. We do this by asking people to cap their rebar, by suggesting that you drink water, by informing you about changing weather conditions and other hazards. Some of us also provide emergency medical care. We don't care how you got this way, we're here to help.
Sixth, Sherriffs. They are there in case a situation comes up that requires a heavy hand. They aren't going around looking for people to bust -- most of them are having as much fun as you are and understand the unique nature of our temporary civilization. If you flaunt your bad habits in their face though, the joke's on you.
Seventh, Be prepared. It's a desert out there. This particular desert has killed off almost everything that has tried to live on it. It will kill you if you let it. Bring food, water, shelter, warm clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen (I'm black and I use SPF45), sturdy shoes, rebar, and duct tape. Someone got past the gate and went up to the nearest Ranger and asked where he could buy a blanket. That wasn't you was it?
Eighth, Be yourself. For one week out of the year, you don't have to worry about impressing anyone. No one cares how fat or skinny you are. No one cares what kind of car you drive or how much your clothes cost. No one cares where you went to college or who your ancestors are or where they came from. The only thing that matters here is your own participation in the life of Black Rock City. Express yourself!