I still have embedded playa dust in the car, on camera lenses (not the glass, but plastic parts like lens hoods, fucking plastic) and a waxed canvas bike messenger bag. Its on the tent, drilling hammer, rebar, bag for the shade and the shade itself, the battery-powered radio I used to for BMIR and some other stuff.
In a way I like the dust. It's a reminder of the epic time I had on the playa and the trip there and back through Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas.
Normally I keep my gear clean and organized, but somehow the playa dust is nice to see for a few reasons. One reason is I think gear looks better a little worn like I've been somewhere; and secondly, the dust just reminds me of being in Black Rock City. Also, I can't go this year because of the ticket problem so it will be bittersweet in a few months when the city is booming.
That first post-playa shower in the motel in Hawthorne, NV was pretty nice, but I didn't feel grimy or dirty before. I took my time unpacking, gathering laundry, organizing, checking email and other minor things. I guess I just got used to being dusty, surrounded by dusty people in a dusty environment.
In BRC, I never went barefoot and kept my feet covered with clean socks in shoes (I slept barefoot though). Other than a seriously fucked up lip (I'll remember lip balm next time) I had no ill effect from the dust on my skin. I actually liked the environment and felt comfortable in it. I came from San Antonio, where I lived at the time, and it was hotter there than the playa and in an epic three-year drought. So the days in BRC felt comfortable by comparison.
I washed my clothes like normal in the motel's laundromat with whatever detergent was in the vending machine and everything looked fine. I gave some Germans (who were also en route from BRC) a pile of quarters for the machine. When one of them tried to hand me some dollar bills, I was a little confused and politely didn't take them. Not being in BRC hadn't set in yet, although something felt wrong on the way out, but I thought it was some other things going on (my travel plans changed to go to a funeral en route).
And, when I lay my head to sleep in the quiet darkness of the lonely motel room, I cried uncontrollably. I had symptoms of mild PTSD, which is oddly normal after leaving Black Rock City, and it took a couple of months before I was right again. The profound psychological effect and the horror of returning to the hideous suburban life was MUCH worse than chapped lips. Reliving it now, is actually sort of difficult and my eyes are tearing up writing and editing this.
I have a pair of new Doc Martens boots on and I think they need a coat of playa dust. I want to go to the playa right now, although I imagine it's still flooded from winter.
"I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway."
Jesus fuckhole, what the fuck was that?
"Playa dust might be the cleanest, most corrosive filth you'll ever love," Savannah said.