Feeling bad about something I did -- camp etiquette

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Feeling bad about something I did -- camp etiquette

Postby Twin » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:17 pm

So tell me how you would have dealt with this situation. I've been feeling really guilty about how I handled it.

I camped with a group of 30 friends (core group of good friends, and a number of friends of friends) this year. We were a highly organized camp -- lots of planning & logistics meetings in advance, several group art projects, meal schedules, clean-up schedules, camp layout design, detailed budgets etc. etc. Everyone made financial contributions in advance to cover food and other group costs.

All of us had other friends at Bman who would come by to hang out, share a meal or two, go out with us, which was cool and fun. (an aside – every night we had a huge group dinner together, with good food and wine, which were some of my best times at Bman – I highly recommend shared camp meals for bonding time and general good joy and energy)

One afternoon I was hanging out at a theme camp w/ lots of nice new people I didn't know – we were all chatting, having cocktails, and generally having a good old time. A group of three of us in particular were talking and laughing together. When it was time to leave we all told one another where we were camping and to "come on by sometime." Well, one of the fellows I was talking did stop by my camp later that day when I wasn't there (Fyi, I’m a female & was at BM with my boyfriend, although I don't think the fellow realized this). He said he knew me and stayed for a meal. Apparently he rubbed a few people the wrong the way, but my friends were gracious and fed him even though I wasn’t there. When it became clear lots of people in the camp were heading out for the night, he sort of wondered off.

Well the next day he showed up with all his camping gear, told me that his friends had decided to leave early, and asked if could camp the rest of the week with us (this was Thursday morning). Now I hardly knew the guy. It’s one thing to join us for a meal or two, but to ask to take up camp? We had all spent hours, weeks and month planning our camp. We were pretty dense already. I conferred with a couple of my campmates who were not very comfortable with the idea. I explained to the guy that we all put so much effort into planning, had made significant financial contributions, and couldn’t really accommodate another person. He wondered off again and I never saw him gain.

I feel so guilty thinking about the site of him walking away, lugging all his camping gear in the vast playa… Was I/we being uptight? Should I have let him camp with us? ?

thanks for listening...
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Postby consumer » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:25 pm

You did the right thing. Especially since you are in a relationship.

Its not like there weren't a thousand other great places for him to camp at. Odds are more likely that he had a great time for the rest of his stay than a bad one.
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Postby p'rick » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:29 pm

i agree. don't feel bad about it at all. it was his problem, not yours. being nice to folks in BRC and offering food is one thing. having someone disrupt the group dynamic you have established well before and throughout the week is another.
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Postby precipitate » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:32 pm

You had no particular responsibility towards him. It's not as if you had
promised him a place to stay and then reneged.

And, Spirit of Burning Man notwithstanding, I think it's a little creepy that
he just showed up with all his gear, uninvited, and expected to camp with
you. That's kind of one of those things that it is important to discuss
beforehand (before lugging your stuff over, not necessarily before the
event begins). And showing up with gear in hand strikes me as quite
manipulative.
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Postby Patience » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:34 pm

Since your campmates were uncomfortable with the idea of this guy joining your camp, I would say you did just fine. You have a much greater responsibility to them than you did to some guy you just met, and if they don't want him to camp with you, that's that.

Were your campmates being uptight? Hard to say. You said he rubbed some people the wrong way. This could be anything from him talking with his mouth full to being really offensive or even scary.

In general, I don't think I'd have a problem with somebody joining my camp, if they were cool and willing to contribute--not financially, but helping out around camp, cleaning, cooking meals, something. It's just important not to encourage people to just glom on to other camps and not give something of themselves in return.

But you shouldn't feel guilty. I'm sure that this guy found a way to take care of himself, or found somebody to hang with. If you or your campmates didn't feel comfortable with this guy, that's a perfectly valid reason to not want him to camp with you.
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Postby Patience » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:37 pm

precipitate wrote:And, Spirit of Burning Man notwithstanding, I think it's a little creepy that
he just showed up with all his gear, uninvited, and expected to camp with
you. That's kind of one of those things that it is important to discuss
beforehand (before lugging your stuff over, not necessarily before the
event begins). And showing up with gear in hand strikes me as quite
manipulative.


Well, since his friends had left, he probably didn't have anywhere to put his gear by then, and didn't want to just leave it out in the middle of nowhere. I'd probably carry my gear until I found a place to camp, too.
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Postby Twin » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:46 pm

thanks for your thoughts on this...in trying to remain in the "burning man spirit" i think i loose a little perspective on what is really appropriate. Of course it would have been different if I were single and into this guy - a number of my friends met people they really fell for who ended up hanging out with us most of the week -- all fun people who added a lot to our experience. One person even helped out breakdown camp on Sunday. my friends who took issue with this guy said they found him a little needy and clingy... i think that's one of the reasons I feel a little bad is because the guy definitely did seem a little lost and sad...but not my problem, right?
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Generosity: On the Playa and in Life

Postby drowned_saved » Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:01 pm

as far as i'm concerned, you're covered. i'll be surprised if many think differently...

Ethics and morality DON'T require that you extend the same level of generosity (or compassion) to all people. Given that your resources (on the playa and in life) are limited, you may share them with whom you see fit in whatever proportions you see fit. This is not to excuse selfishness, of course. It is merely an admission that you haven't got enough stuff (food, money, time) to sate the needs/desires of all people.

Most of us employ an ethical hierarchy as a result. We save what is most precious for our family and friends. If there is surplus left over, we might choose to offer it to those outside our immediate circle (e.g., a charitable contribution or sandwich delivered into the hands of a "bum"). Choices are inevitable and ethical discrimination is not bad per se. In fact, you'll WANT to be discriminating in many instances to be sure that your resources are employed efficiently by those who appreciate them most. Notice: discrimination in these instances is a good and useful thing as long as the basis of choice is not arbitrary.

It seems to me that you made your choice based on the following:
(1) you didn't know the guy well;
(2) you wished to respect the wishes of others in your group;
(3) you had some reason to believe (based on the report of firends) that the guy was a prick.

probably these criteria WOULD NOT be sufficient reasons to withold life-saving aid. but that's NOT what you did. not even close. you simply denied him a few creature comforts with reasonable assurance that his survival and welfare were not at stake.

On the playa it's often possible to engage in acts that would be "unaffordable" in other circumstances. And it certainly doesn't hurt (any of us) to think about what possibilities for generosity exist in our daily lives. but the idea of extending ourslves equally for all people in whatever situation isn't very realistic (or even wise, i'd say). choiced have to be made and yours was a reasonable one.
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RE: Feeling Bad.

Postby Dustdevil » Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:17 pm

I for one will not turn away anyone who is hungry, truly needs assistance or is not able to fend for themselves. That being said, your potential "guest" over-stepped his bounds. He is guilty of poor camp etiquette. Dragging all his gear to your camp BEFORE asking for permission was an attempt to make you feel sorry for him and give him a place to live. He was not a lost child that needed to find his parents, he was a leech. There is no excuse for using a guilt trip to get your way. You made the proper choice. Do not feel bad for not falling into his trap.
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Postby precipitate » Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:27 pm

> he probably didn't have anywhere to put his gear by then,

Gimme a break. He couldn't have left his tent zipped with all his stuff in it
long enough to walk over and ask if he could camp with them? I don't
buy it.

But, point taken. Maybe he's just a social moron.
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Postby stu » Fri Oct 03, 2003 6:06 pm

> he probably didn't have anywhere to put his gear by then

I thought he said his friends had left. Doesn't that mean he was *already* camped somewhere, and was now giving that spot up? If it was Thursday, where was he before then?
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Postby Kinetic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:41 pm

Doesn't the city have a nice quiet zone for camping between the city and the airport? He could have moved out there...granted the bike ride into everything would have been longer but there is no excuse for that kind of behavior. If in doubt on anything, just ask. We all know what happens when you assume something.
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Postby Angry Butterfly » Sat Oct 04, 2003 12:07 pm

You did the right thing, don't forget that part of the burningman spirit is also preparedness and self sufficency, otherwise too many people would leech off other people and the whole "Gift Economy" thing would break down because too many people were being taken advantage of. I'm probably not the best one to talk, since I spent so few nights in my own camp, but I did spend a lot of time getting ready beforehand, and I always had my own camp to come home to and all the stuff I needed to survive.
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.
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Postby DogBoy » Sat Oct 04, 2003 4:15 pm

I would point out he may have done something to get kicked out of the camp he was in, in which case you definately don't want him camping with you. We actually kicked a guy out of our camp in 2002 (story on most clueless burner thread), after trying really hard to put up with him. I also had a friend this year that was contemplating leaving the camp he was in; he came and asked if he could camp with us if he did leave them. His conflict w/them was resolved eventually, but he went about "apartment hunting" in a good way.

It sounds like he had some kind of social issue to me. There's no reason not to come over and ask.
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$0.02

Postby PleasureSean » Tue Oct 14, 2003 1:45 pm

Well done Twin. It's unfortunate that these decisions need to be made due to unprepared or just unaware people, but it happens. We've had many issues with the cohesiveness of our camp over the 6 years we've gone together, such as

a) the obnoxious person in our camp that we allowed to stay with us all week (we were trying to be nice and in the Burningman spirit) when we should have kicked him out after the first hour;

b) letting too many people in the camp that not many people knew so the whole camp kind of dissolved into a bunch of little cliques; and

c) people showing up in the middle of the week wanting to camp with us.

We're a camp of 60 people with a large art car and we all put a lot of time, effort, and money into making it happen every year. If someone is not contributing to the mix, or even worse, being a taker and bringing down your vibe, you have to take the overall well-being of the group into account when making your decisions. Your interloper managed to rub some people in your camp the wrong way (which is pretty hard to do at Burningman BTW) so you understood that bringing in this stranger would affect your community negatively and made what sounds like the right decision to me. So it's best to look at the effect of these decisions on the whole group and the answers become pretty clear most of the time.

The more I go, the more I find that the human interactions at the camp/group level and the larger community of Burningman are some of the most complex pieces of art out there.
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Re: Feeling bad about something I did -- camp etiquette

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 15, 2003 9:29 am

Twin wrote:I conferred with a couple of my campmates who were not very comfortable with the idea. I explained to the guy that we all put so much effort into planning, had made significant financial contributions, and couldn’t really accommodate another person. He wondered off again and I never saw him gain.


Sounds like you were honest with the guy, honest with your campmates, and honest with yourself.

To me that sums up community and self-expression quite well.
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Re: $0.02

Postby Twin » Wed Oct 15, 2003 5:00 pm

The more I go, the more I find that the human interactions at the camp/group level and the larger community of Burningman are some of the most complex pieces of art out there.
[/quote]

Amen! The communities we are forming are the grandest, most delicate, works of art on the playa. Sigh. I'm homesick.
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Postby jbelson » Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:23 am

From what I've read, sounds like this guys friends ditched him. Sure, they left on Thursday, just when everything was kicking into high gear. Maybe they kicked him out for being too needy and a leech. It doesn't even sound like he had food or water. What? They were leaving and decided they needed the extra food and water for the drive home? His story doesn't really add up. And besides, it wasn't your decision, it was the groups. They would have to live with him, feed him, and smell him. Thats a lot to ask.
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Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby Supastar » Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:15 pm

It reminds me of the time when my family told me I could no longer stay in their house. I had lived with them for fourteen whole years since birth and just worn out my welcome, I guess. If they sent me packing, why shouldn't you send that guy packing? It's not even like he would mow the lawn or anything.

Needless to say, to me Burning Man is definitely a place to put up boundaries. You have to let people know your limits and then force them on those around you. Without that, what do we have? Anarchy. Chaos. Bad.... very bad.

And the best part is, by doing that and really clamping down on crap like this, we can all soon be building fences around our camps, with doorbells on the domes, and Securitech armed security trigger systems! We could have little telephones and maybe even timecards for when we go to the work camp... YES!

Ok, ok... you did the right thing. That guy sucks and he deserved to camp in the portapotties.
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Re: Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby Hotblack Desiato » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:38 am

Supastar wrote:It reminds me of the time when my family told me I could no longer stay in their house. I had lived with them for fourteen whole years since birth and just worn out my welcome, I guess. If they sent me packing, why shouldn't you send that guy packing? It's not even like he would mow the lawn or anything.

Oh, how is this analogy ridiculous? Let me count the ways:

A family is a group of people, involuntarily bound by blood, with permanent societally-imposed and legal obligations to one another. Turning a minor child out on the street is not only reprehensible, it's against the law.

A Burning Man theme camp is a group of people -- usually mostly adults --who come together voluntarily to attend a weeklong arts festival/camping trip.

Your comparison of the situation described at the beginning of this thread to your family's behavior would be slightly, slightly more relevant if, upon being thrown out, you had taken all your things and gone to the home of a neighbor, with whom you'd had dinner once, and demanded to live with them. But even then, it's a crock.

Needless to say, to me Burning Man is definitely a place to put up boundaries. You have to let people know your limits and then force them on those around you. Without that, what do we have? Anarchy. Chaos. Bad.... very bad.


For the sake of argument, I'll buy into your claim that Burning Man is exactly analagous to real life. Okay... example. I know a guy who I can stand socially, but who's a druggie mess and not really trustworthy otherwise. He asks if he can move in with me. Am I obligated to let him, because boundaries of any sort are bad?

Or... there's a woman who I see frequently at my bus stop. She talks to herself and asks for change -- I don't know if she's homeless, but she is definitely nuts. I help her out with change and bus tokens when I can, but am I obligated to open my home to her?

And the best part is, by doing that and really clamping down on crap like this, we can all soon be building fences around our camps, with doorbells on the domes, and Securitech armed security trigger systems! We could have little telephones and maybe even timecards for when we go to the work camp... YES!

Foul, no rhetoric. Slippery-slope fallacy. Also, idiotic.

Ok, ok... you did the right thing. That guy sucks and he deserved to camp in the portapotties.

Can you stand a suggestion? Next year, perhaps you should found "Got Kicked Out Of Your Camp?" Camp, and feed and provide "homes" for all the wastrels whose evil, heartless families -- er, groups of acquaintances -- kicked them out FOREVER -- er, sorry, until the end of a 7-day camping trip. Oooh, tempting how smug you'll get to be then, eh?
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Re: Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby Flux » Fri Nov 07, 2003 11:40 am

Supastar wrote:Ok, ok... you did the right thing. That guy sucks and he deserved to camp in the portapotties.

Is it just me, or did anyone else have this thought:

Twin wrote:He wondered off again and I never saw him gain.

Hey Twin, here he is now!
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Re: Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby Rob the Wop » Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:55 pm

Supastar wrote:Ok, ok... you did the right thing. That guy sucks and he deserved to camp in the portapotties.


More compassionate than I would be. If you don't bring everything you PERSONALLY require to survive- stick em on a bus, drive them 30 miles out on the playa, force them off the bus.

There is a difference between someone in a hard luck position (brings all, hits a cow that runs out in front of car, needs help getting back) and someone that knew the rules- and didn't play by them, forcing others to take care of him.

For fuck's sake, the guy was an adult. He needs to make adult descisions. If he couldn't bring what he needs to live, he shouldn't have gone to BM. I don't walk into the forest with a toothpick to camp for a week, why the fuck should anyone expect everyone around them to bring enough extra for them? If you want coddling, go to the Rainbow Festivals instead. BM has never been about showing up empty handed. Read your fucking ticket, for fuck's sake.
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Re: Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby drowned_saved » Fri Nov 07, 2003 1:00 pm

Rob the Wop wrote:I don't walk into the forest with a toothpick to camp for a week

on behalf of bits of jerky everywhere, we thank you sincerely for this...
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Postby Badger » Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:29 pm

More compassionate than I would be. If you don't bring everything you PERSONALLY require to survive- stick em on a bus, drive them 30 miles out on the playa, force them off the bus.


Or, like when we evicted this loser two years ago, take him out to Gerlach, give him a quart of water and .50 to make a phone call. Invite him back next year when he thinks he might have a fucking clue.
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Postby rodent » Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:43 pm

Aw... Badger... I knew you had a big heart...

giving the guy $0.50

shucks... you're such a softy

:)
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Postby DE FACTO » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:40 pm

Image

and the name: "Supastar"

need more be said?

<sigh>
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Postby Badger » Sat Nov 08, 2003 5:27 am

giving the guy $0.50

shucks... you're such a softy


Hey, it wasn't my fucking $$.

I snagged a few quarters out of one of those 'emergency change buckets' there at the Center Camp Coffee Commissary (C4(TM)).
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Burningman Life Lesson #36...

Postby Last Real Burner » Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:08 am

You Must be centered. Discard all that keeps you off center.

You passed this lesson Twin.

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Re: Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby Supastar » Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:52 am

Hotblack Desiato wrote:Your comparison of the situation described at the beginning of this thread to your family's behavior would be slightly, slightly more relevant if, upon being thrown out, you had taken all your things and gone to the home of a neighbor, with whom you'd had dinner once, and demanded to live with them. But even then, it's a crock.


You say things thinking people will pick up on the sarcasm, but then you realize everyone is so lost in their own little e-playa worlds that it becomes difficult to see the forest through the trees. Let me clarify a thought or two, and then Defacto, Collin Quinn's ugly comic twin, can feel free to continue bashing login names and pictures all he wants:

- I agree with everything everyone had previously said.
- I made up the stories I told. I lied, and enjoyed it.
- Hotblack - of course my comments were idiotic and ridiculous -- that was the point.
- Read the whole message before you knock it down -- we're all smarter than that, aren't we?

...aren't we?
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Re: Tally Ho, Sweet Emeline

Postby DE FACTO » Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:09 pm

Supastar wrote: Let me clarify a thought or two, and then Defacto, Collin Quinn's ugly comic twin, can feel free to continue bashing login names and pictures all he wants:

- I agree with everything everyone had previously said.
- I made up the stories I told. I lied, and enjoyed it.
- Hotblack - of course my comments were idiotic and ridiculous -- that was the point.
- Read the whole message before you knock it down -- we're all smarter than that, aren't we?

...aren't we?


http://www.googlism.com/index.htm?ism=superstar&type=1

http://www.googlefight.com/cgi-bin/comp ... &langue=us
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