I adapted a newbie this year. And I talked with dozens more. My Lackey kicked ass, but I’m not so sure she is an exception, reflecting on the high quality of people I met. I met a couple from Canada who were signed up for a camp, first timers, and discovered it was a swinging camp, and they had discretions. So they bought a cheap car, drove it down, slept in it, up early enough to be near the front of the ice line everyday. They had it together, everything but a evap pond, but that’s what the neighbors are for. They were a pleasure. My vet neighbors set up a shade shelter and a gaggle of newbies gathered there every day and night, Australians and Brits. Their laughter drowning out the generators and sound camps. A first time Israeli told me being here was like being a child in a candy store. My German/Maui nymph, her first time on playa, offered me an apple in the desert, but only if I promised to eat all of it including the core. My Turkish friends wanted to know what it all meant, and only laughed when my cart spilled them in the dust.
My newbie? A younger nerdish working class first timer, veteran raver, from the mean streets of Sacramento. I wanted someone vulnerable enough that I could count on their labor when erecting my camp. She was smart, witty, humble, tough and brought it! She had read up, new the ropes, was game. She rolled with the first war as I jockeyed for camp space. Lit up like a Christmas tree, the first night she was complaining about darkwads. Her bike was decorated, as was her. She helped set up and dismantle the camp, though I know in her head she was thinking, “Why is this crazy old man putting up these stupid signs?” Her bike basket filled with moop, she insisted I pour the dirty cooler water in a jug to take home. She existed the entire week on almonds and triskets. I heard her crack open a beer after I went to sleep. She helped me set up The Last Bar on Earth/First Bar on Playa, even though she had her serious doubts. Poured dozens of drinks to the thirsty. Totally took care of business. Really, what more could you ask for in a Burner?
The only real problems I had with her were virtues. She took off, for days. She would show up at dawn. On exodus she disappeared with a margarita to join the street party brewing behind us, representing, running up to the truck only as I moved forward on the last exit pulse. Though there was the one incident early in the week… We went out to ride Tuesday night and within 15 minutes she had agreed to temporarily marry a shirt-cocker. Really… Sometimes I simply can’t understand someone. It wasn’t until Sunday that I could look at her straight.
At camp and on the drive she was supportive and a pleasure to be around. I dropped her off at work, she went straight there to make up for the time off. Never complained. Other than the shirt cocker thing, being a raver, and not supporting my various feuds and vendettas, she was a better Burner than me her first time out.