Pack up the Winnebago, Burning Man’s over |

Pack up the Winnebago, Burning Man’s over

The talcum-covered Airstreams clogging up Interstate 80 on Sunday ” and the bearded, worn-out faces peering out the drivers’ side windows at the gridlock in front of them ” meant one thing: Burning Man is over.

Sunday may have been one of the most dangerous times to take the Interstate 80 to get across town ” after all aging, hungover Burners in rickety gas guzzlers are less than predictable drivers ” if the flock of Burners hadn’t been driving 10 mph.

I’ve never been to Burning Man, but each year the description of the event makes me chuckle. Especially from my vantage point: Watching the hordes head to and from the Playa.

The Burning Man Web site calls the Black Rock Desert arts fest an event “dedicated to self-expression, self-reliance, and art as the center of community.”

That’s funny, because I always thought of it more as a chance for all the freaks to throw an RV party.

Nothing wrong with that, but when I think “self-reliance” I don’t think of loading up the Winnebago and ” thanks to a little thing called internal combustion ” rolling to the desert in style.

“Self reliance” has a little more of an edge to it, in my mind, than something millions of retired couples do all over the country at KOAs and RV parks everywhere.

The “self-expression” part of the description is spot on though. And that part of the festival is well worth it, both for those who attend the event and those who don’t.

I’m grateful that there is an out-of-the-way location where old hippies can go to take their pants off for a week. By the time they are back in civilization they actually appreciate wearing pants, and everyone comes out a winner.

But, as I’m told, there’s more to Burning Man than dropping your drawers. The art at the festival is pretty outstanding.

And my hat is off to all the talented artists who are able to think and create and inspire through their work out on the Playa.

But it beats me why some of those festival-goers don’t hang out in Black Rock Desert all year long. After all they could express the heck out of themselves whenever they wanted. They could wear antennae and loincloths and dance around in their underwear every day. They could bring expensive lumber to the desert and then senselessly and wastefully light it on fire whenever they wanted.

But “self-reliance” might have a little more meaning on day 15 after the Winnebago batteries die, the Margarita blender isn’t functioning and there’s only a single Ballpark Frank left in the fridge.

But, I suppose, self-reliance and self-expression gets a little exhausting after a week.

And it must be a good feeling to pack up the Winnebago and head back to the luxuries of civilization after such an extreme week ” until you hit gridlock on Interstate 80.

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