StraightEdge at BurningMan
About now listening to me talk about drugs must be like listening to Priest give a talk on sex, but I don't think I'm too far off base here. I've been around evenings where things were just stupid and fun. I had to choke back my natural feelings of "Damn this is stupid," but when I did, I had fun. I've had nights where the energy in the room from the band or the DJ crawled over me like a low wattage blanket of electricity. I've had those moments where the world seemed to skew around me when I looked at it wrong, or when I stayed out so late I couldn't focus my eyes. Sure they may be nothing compared to what the rest of you have had with your various chemical assistants but the point is that I understand, perhaps better than you, that there are elements to how we see and feel the world, small whispers, that can be turned up or drowned out. And as I sat there with the Scotsman on the dusty playa explaining it I realized how lucky I was to have been forced into the discipline of paying attention to those whispers and subtle glows.
I don't think that I'm super or unusually gifted to be able to grab on to what most people have to get intoxicated just to hear. But I am lucky. I slid in to that exercise regime without even realizing there was an easier way. It would be so much easier to drink and do drugs-- maybe not cheaper, but definitely easier. But way back when, when I started putting a big X on my fist and going to punk shows, when we would scoff at people sitting drunk in a 7-11 parking lot, I got turned on to the long route to fun and stuck with it. Now I'm glad, but it was something I did not do appreciating it. In retrospect I can talk about it like that was the goal, but at the time I was just doing what seemed like a better path-- not a better destination.
I can only speak for myself here because I have not had everyone else's experience. I think that many other SXErs feel the way I do and have the same experiences I have had. And I'm hardly the only person to be able to hear the whispers that drugs and drinking turn into shouts, but this weekend the universe pointed out to me how fucking lucky I am. And I'm just gloating about how lucky I am-- It's my way of thanking the fates.
And next time a naked woman with a Jack & Coke asks me, "Why do you go to BurningMan?" I'll say, "Because I can enjoy it."
*For the record I was not the only sober person at Burning Man