(Some of this is 2nd hand, as I did not attend BM in 2002, 2003 was my first year.)
In 2002 on the night of the Burning of the Man, an older woman in a wheelchair asked a lamplighter if she could have the lamp he carried, as they finished lighting the lamps. It was a specific lamp she wanted, and receiving the lamp would have been very special to her. A friend of hers, Halfdome, had brought her back to the playa for the second year in a row after years of trying to convince her that BM would be accessible to her. Capt. Adaquit was witness to the Lamp Lighter reaming this woman out about how ungrateful and selfish she was and she needed to go the fuck home. NOT what BM is about at all. Lady Laughter was hurt and Capt. Adaquit was really touched by this.
Fast forward to the Temple Burn of 2003. After the burning of the Temple, Capt. Adaquit was standing in front of the fire that had been the Temple, allowing people to take photos of him in his silver liquid lame outfit, looking like one of the fire fighters, though from another, future, century. I waited in the crowd for him, helping him through the throngs of people, as, with his face covering, he could not see well. Behind me, people were being pushed aside, as a man and his wheelchair bound wife were making their way to the bonfire. I alerted those in front of me and began helping move people aside so the woman and her husband, who carried a sign, obviously a memorial to a friend, toward the fire. Capt. Adaquit read the sign as others moved to sign it before it burned and he signed the memorial also. It was a memorial to Halfdome. He had died and his ashes had been atop the head of the man for the burn. After Capt Adaquit signed the memorial, he turned and saw the woman in the wheelchair.
I don't know when it happened, but I heard him say to Lady Laughter, "Did you have an incident with a Lamp Lighter last year?" Lady Laughter and Capt. Adaquit both started crying. After The Lady's altercation with the Lamp Lighter, somehow, Capt Adaquit found the lamp she wanted... it was ruined beyond repair. Somehow, he acquired an identical one, in much better shape and took it home with him, unable to find the woman in the wheelchair. At the Temple Burn, as I listened, Capt Adaquit told Lady Laughter, "I have a lamp for you. I found one for you and I kept it for you. It's yours." Everyone around us cried, we all cried, hugged and laughed. I told Lady Laughter that if anyone would do such a kind thing, it was the Capt. The Lady's husband (who I found out later, had shaved his moustache on Tuesday so he could better kiss his wife) threw the memorial in the fire and we thanked Halfdome for bringing her to Burning Man three years ago.
It was truly a miracle that out of all the people around the Temple that night, and the fact that whatever had put Lady Laughter in that wheelchair made her afraid of fire, she got close enough to find the Capt.
That night, my beautiful friend, who had brought *me* to Burning Man this year, glowed. His kind, generous soul made someone else happier than they had been in a long time... and I wasn't suprised. I cried because I was proud of my friend, happy for Lady Laughter and amazed at what can happen on the playa.
Perhaps for some, this isn't the amazing, beautiful experience it was for us, but that last celebration will light my heart forever.
Well behaved women rarely make history.