Other idiotic Burning Man trips Back to the beginning of this idiotic Burning Man trip

This is the religious guy some of you will remember talking to on the phone, the guy who commandeered the Booth for a few weeks and read messages from above to callers worldwide. "God told me to," he said.

Funny, that's what psycho killers say when they're caught. At least one of our party was nervous about sleeping at the Booth if this guy was still going to be there. When I spoke to him on the phone, I mentioned another phone booth in the Mojave (which is now gone) and asked, "How do you know He didn't mean that one?" The guy says, "Well, He gave me the choice. I chose this one." Cosmic Monty Hall, this guy's god. (Perhaps there is a Cosmic Carol Merrill; that might make it all worthwhile.)

Anyhow, our apprehension was unnecessary. He turned out to be a good old guy. He said his piece, then was just regular with us. We got a kick out of him.

Don't know what happened to him after he left the Mojave. Heard he went into the hospital, which wouldn't be surprising, given that he was fasting in the desert summer.

Took lots of calls, mostly from the Burning Man-bound. I'd brought a dictionary, and each person was asked to choose a number from 1 to 666. Each person's password was selected from the correspondingly-numbered page and written down for verification at Burning Man. It's a serious business, giving away crappy prizes to strangers.

Some representative entries:

Name From Password
Jason (Taking his mom, Shirley, to Burning Man) Vancouver, B.C. Jason: salty; Shirley: squirrely
M (Blue Light District) SF mermaid
Michael H. (Bianca's Smut Shack) Portland, OR smut
Steve (psychiatrist) Portland, OR lithium
Ian (Camp Coup d'etat) Mt. View, CA cheesy
Cheryl (Pacifica) Unknown farrago
Becky (mentions seeing Whip It! at BM98) Unknown Biro
Melanie (Gigsville) Unknown zeppelin
Victoastia (Radio Free BM) SF zombie
Norma (Camp Biscuit) Santa Cruz, CA recitative
Edie Babe (voice of "spacegirl") Unknown animated cartoon
Mark Gunderson (Evolution Control Committee / Cataclysmic Megashear Ranch) Columbus, OH inscrutable
Tamara (Camp Sunscreen) Redland City, CA scuttlebutt
Adrian (Piss Clear) SF approbation
Rob Marley (Temple of Atonement) Unknown playing card
Victor (Worm of Friendship) Tokyo/SF rococo
Ben (Spiral Oasis) Albuquerque vile

I stayed up to take calls after the others had gone to bed, wanting to take as many calls as possible, because the Burning Man organizers had banished us this year to the outer reaches of the playa, where there is much weeping and the gnashing of teeth. The Booth gimmick was how we hoped to draw more people out to visit us. It was the reason for going to the booth first. DUH! So one visitor, who was just sort of tagging along with our crew and wasn't even going to Burning Man got pissy because the phone was ringing and apparently my voice was too loud for him. He needed his beauty sleep because he was on his way to his 10-year high school reunion.

Yeah. You read that right.

Well, here's the news, tagalong: THAT'S WHY WE WERE THERE -- TO ANSWER THE PHONE!

Am I still angry about it? WHY?!? DO I SEEM ANGRY TO YOU?!? Eh. I probably would have fought it, but I was in a good mood in those days, and let it go. Callers were having a hard time hearing me when I lowered my voice, so I packed it in and went to bed instead.

The next day we headed north to Nevada and Reunion Boy headed for his losers' convention.

Below was Molly's view for much of the trip: the camper trudging along at ca. 50 m.p.h. Had to go slow to keep the engine from overheating -- that little Toyota had NO business trying to haul a camper of that size. The engine was so overloaded that the only way to keep the temperature gauge anywhere near the "Normal" range was to drive with the heater on ... full blast. That is so much fun in the summertime. Good thing the total trip mileage will end up being only 3,000+ miles of True American Comfort.

Photo by Molly

Still, driving with the heater on in the summer heat beats sitting on the side of the road for hours at a stretch in the summer heat. That was last year's Burning Man trip, during which we learned the relation between road-tripping and the Five Stages of Mourning (though we never seemed to make it past Stage Four: Bargaining).