I have FOMO
Or do I?
My flight out to Reno for Burning Man is next week. I won’t be on it.
I bought a seat several months ago in an abundance of optimism after binging on mindblowing YouTube videos of the playa, like this one and this one. Fuck. That place. Last year I moved across the country and kinda figured I’d do different things while out on a different coast. I mean, I don’t need to go every year. Add to that the insane ticket acquiring rigmarole and logistics of traveling 3000 miles with camping gear adequate to sustain life for a week in the desert and I was a solid Yeah..no.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. God, if you’ve gone you know. It’s the worst most pain in the ass life changing incredible endeavor you’ll ever have the fortune to almost die from.
I reminisced my favorite memories of the burn while riding with the social bike group from the neighborhood pub. Cruising through warm air under the glow of orange street lights and amid the din of ocean waves and a playlist thumping from a speaker strapped into my cup holder, I suddenly felt insane. This life I’ve carved out for myself isn’t not like burn week. And actually, this journey is on a permanent basis and there’s no fucking car pass needed.
Don’t get me wrong, the extreme highs and godforsaken lows are what make the experience a truly phenomenal experience. But on a practical and admittedly more sustainable level, this lifestyle I’ve carved out provides me many of the things that the playa does. My life in so Flo is substantially similar to life in Black Rock City is what I am saying.
Hear me out.
My daily life entails riding bikes with friends as I mentioned, but we ride our bikes socially and often with baskets full of beer to share. We gather at various locations around the city to partake in the offerings of the host, be it a convenience store or Edgar’s place in Sailboat Bend. There are no shortage of colorful characters — remind me to tell you about the British guy who bikes in a thong and keeps his helmet on while drinking at the pub. There’s dramatic weather that always keeps you on your toes. Except here the torrent of rain doesn’t ruin any of the fun; it’s actually quite refreshing. Fireworks, we call it lightning and the show goes all night some nights. We got gusty wind for sure, but it’s generally dust-free. And laws governing decency? Pssh, this is Florida.
Both cities offer endless opportunities to party til the wee hours and no one is ever sober. It’s very warm so I wear few clothes and usually whatever I feel like is what goes on my body; everyone pretty much does the same. I rarely style or even wash my hair as the humidity renders it futile. There’s a roaring gayborhood down the road where the music and dance parties are plentiful. The food can be surprisingly delectable, but most of my meals are just warmed up Indian food, natch. Booze is ubiquitous — you can literally walk down the street with an open container and you will often be gifted drinks by strangers (it is the south, after all). They don’t call it Fort Liquordale for nothin’ y’all.
But there’s more. The people I meet here are every bit as genuine and dynamic. They are warm and adventurous. Most made sacrifices to be here and many had to forge new friendships and community. They are tolerant of gender and lifestyle continuum, even discovering new elements to their own personalities along the way. We all are here for transformation and relish the fertile ground of a nonconformative environment. Sound familiar?
I smiled as I realized that I needn’t pack up my ice chest for anything but a gathering at my pool. I didn’t need to crunch the logistics of hauling my bike thousands of miles — I can just hop on and go. My bed is clean. I don’t need to find a sitter for my beloved elderbull and worry endlessly while on tortured but necessary radio silence from the world for a week. I can have much of what I get at TTiTD but on a continual basis and for minimal effort. I know that’s not the same thing as enduring an arduous grand life threatening — and affirming — adventure, but it’s shockingly close.
Of course I’m planning to attend next year, but this year I’m good. Seriously.
If you liked that story, here’s another one you may enjoy: https://medium.com/@ohcarie/i-am-so-glad-i-was-dumped-by-my-husband-and-not-by-my-boyfriend-41ed4ba30798