Apparently, it used to be easy to get tickets to Burning Man. Like, you just went to the site and paid your money, and they mailed you a ticket. It does not work that way in 2015. It still amazes me that we obtained three coveted tickets and a vehicle pass that will allow us to move to Black Rock City tomorrow with 70,000 of our closest friends.
Back in February I was completely overwhelmed with the idea of pulling off this trip. I had just moved into a new house, my job was horrible and stressful, and I was newly on my own again. I am the type of person to get overwhelmed by the big picture, so the small steps seem impossible. On February 13 I was telling my stories to my new friend W. It came up that my dad wanted to go, but I was not so sure it was a good idea under the circumstances. W, who has since become the person in my life who can ask a single question and solve all of my problems, wisely said: “How could you not try?”
I contacted my parents, as we had to register for the ticket sale by noon on Valentine’s Day. I created Burner Profiles for all three of us, and made sure my parents knew where to find their personal link. The following Wednesday, we all clicked our links simultaneously at noon to get in “line”. Forty thousand tickets were available, and we patiently watched as a little man walked slowly across the screen, indicating how long it would be until we could check out. My mom is the only one of of us who made it through, and she purchased two tickets and a vehicle pass. The sale ended 45 minutes later, shutting out many veteran burners, and lots of hopefuls….like me.
With two tickets, it was clear my parents were going. It was not clear about me. We briefly researched how to stow me away, which didn’t seem like a grand plan. As my parents prepared, I realized it might not be my year. I might be left home, while they went dancing in the dust. And then another new friend J came to the rescue. He saw my post on Facebook that we were still in need, and posted a note to his Pink Heart Theme Camp group. Supernova came through for us with the final ticket, a little over a month ago.
My other new friend, E, who has nothing to do with any of this other than the fact she has to sit next to me and listen to me talk incessantly about my plans, can attest to the fact that I got teary-eyed when the message came through that I was getting a ticket. Relief and excitement and panic and joy!
If tickets are so tough to get, you might wonder why there isn’t a great scalping market like there is for a Madonna concert. Remember when I mentioned the Ten Principle of Burning Man? Decomodification isn’t just for the event, it is a part of the culture throughout the year. And earning money off of a transaction such as scalping a ticket goes directly against this culture. Could Supernova have charged us an extra hundred dollars, or even more? She likely could have financed a good part of her costume wardrobe with a moderate upcharge. Instead, I sent her money for the ticket and shipping, and nothing more.
This phenomenon is fascinating to me. It rubs against American cultural norms and the ingrained beliefs that capitalism is the best and most efficient way to run a society. It appears my fellow burners are seeking to change this opinion, one event at a time.
You might notice a theme here today, as I type this from the dining table of our RV rattling across the Sonoran Desert. For me, this is the year of new people coming in to my life in mysterious and important ways. I have been surprised by generosity, love, kindness, and true friendship from people who have shown up out of the ether. It’s magic. While our physical journey begins today, for me it started long ago, when I asked the universe for an adventure and the incredibly people who might come along with it.
In the perfect words of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers…..
Here we go!