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  April 18, 1999: My Time In Austin

September 7, 1998:
Wherever I Go, There I Am

June 6, 1998:
Las Vegas Without Gambling
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  September 7, 1998

Wherever I Go, There I Am

For the longest time, I've enjoyed the phrase "Wherever you go, there you are," as an intriguing Zen-ish philosophy of moving through life. Up until this past weekend, I'd always thought the focus of the second clause was "there," the place you were.

That changed this weekend, when at Burning Man, I realized wherever I go, there I am. Burning Man, a festival celebrating craziness, loopiness, non-conformity, love, art, science, community, etc., where you can go to places called "Drano," "Disturbia," "Irrational Geographic," where you can hang out in a refrigerated truck in a 100-degree desert, where body-painted nudity is the norm, where people engage in explicit sexual play in Bianca's Smut Shack, and there I am, doing what I do on a weekend in San Francisco--bicycling around to my friend's houses (okay, camps), chatting with them, exploring neighborhoods, lazing in the afternoon sun, all the way down to my ritual 4pm capuccino (I learned to love intaking dairy on the Playa).

This in some ways is disappointing, as an experience like Burning Man encourages its participants to shake their normal ways and engage in wild new activities, explore new ways of interacting with folks. But in other ways it was affirming, verifying a certain groundedness in my life (which some might refer to as a "rut"), a pattern that I enjoy, a way of life that when faced with the option for reckless abandon, thinks, "Eh, I'm gonna sit here and chat with this friend."

Not that there weren't special or unique experiences--having my information processed by the Nebulous Entity; watching the 15-foot Tesla's coil's beautiful purple lightning arc to the ground; dancing to funk in the mud and rain IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT; getting a glitter manicure/pedicure; eating an Astronot Pop (a "quiescently frozen confection") IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT; and the topper, wandering around the desert with fellow campers, all wearing sock puppets, proclaiming ourselves the Sock Liberation Front and accosting folks with our Woolen Brethren on their feet.

But, in the end, I've left all that on the Playa. What I'm taking away is that I'm pretty damn happy with the way I do things, and I'm gonna do those things no matter where I am, no matter what the circumstance. So while my experience wasn't "life-changing" (an adjective I've heard many folks use to describe Burning Man), putting myself in this freaky extreme, and dealing with it in the same way I deal with anything, that's pretty damned life-affirming.