It’s August and that means a very particular subset of the population is getting ready to head into the desert for a week to wear steampunk gas masks and refer to one another by their playa names. Yes, it is Burning Man season. But this year isn’t shaping up to be the Tim Burton-esque wonderland of yore. Because this year all the Burning Man dreamers are going to be brought back to a very bodily reality when they are covered in swarms of hundreds of thousands of bugs.
That’s right. Burning Man’s Black Rock Desert festival grounds are infested with unidentified insects. Lots of them. Enough of them that the festival had to release this statement on their blogconfirming that the creepy crawlers were everywhere.
You may have seen the bug rumors on the internet. We are here to tell you that they are all true. Well maybe not all of the rumors, but the bugs are real. They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you. They get up and in you.
Twin Peaks, who’s leading the construction of the Center Café, was talking about how bad they are when she jumped a little and pulled her t-shirt away from her body. A good-sized green bug fell to the ground. It had crawled into her bra.
Metal Shop Heather wears a welding mask most of the day. Bugs have crawled up inside her visor and nestled around her eyes. Cammy and Stinger needed some help from the medical team to deal with the infestation; Stinger’s back was covered with nasty red welts from the bites.
This seems like a huge bummer for those gearing up to head to the festival at the end of the month. Hopefully the burners can turn this unprecedented infestation into an experience and it’ll be something that bonds the festival-goers together this year. That’s something they’d sort’ve all ultimately be into, right? I’m honestly not sure because I’m still recovering from the shock that I’ve found yet another reason I’d never want to attend Burning Man.
Before I heard of these mysterious bugs swarming Black Rock Desert, I was very confident declaring that “absolutely nothing on earth would make me want to go to Burning Man, it seems like hell on earth.” But then when I learned of them, I embarrassingly had to correct myself and say, “absolutely nothing on earth would make me want to go to Burning Man, it is hell on earth.”
Life is about understanding your limits and not just where they teeter but how far they extend. For example, just when I thought I couldn’t loathe the idea of something more than the thought of spending a week in a dustbowl dressed as a steampunk fuckboi named Swirlz, who also co-owned a tech startup, I learned that I could be surrounded by insects trying to tear my skin open. I haven’t read all of the bible, but didn’t God say something like this would happen in the end days?
I am humbled by this realization. It’s so easy to go through life, declaring that you have no interest in attending Burning Man, but to really, truly,comprehend that going to this hell festival would be the worst possible experience for you to encounter, that takes a hefty amount of self-awareness that can only come from honestly loving yourself.
To those braving the Black Rock Desert bug ball, I wish you the best of luck. I pray that you reach the same enlightenment I just did and push past your preconceived limits. Burning Man is about shedding what others see you as and even what you believe yourself to be, and coming into your true self for at least one week of the year. And if any of you become so enlightened that you realize what you are doing is utterly and bat-shit insane, I’ve rented a hotel room a few miles inland and I’ll be waiting for you with a big bowl of popcorn to just watch Netflix and chill.