A Kid Again – 2004

I went to this thing called Burning Man and it was neat. The grownups come but they don’t tell you what to do all the time. You still have to be nice, but you can do what you want. You can put funny clothes on – anything you want, and you can make them even. Other people take their clothes off sometimes, and that’s OK, but I’ll bet they get sunburn.

You can make a funny car or bike and make it look like a snail or mushroom or something. I saw two that were cupcakes, and some cars are dragons and roar and breathe fire. And some cars don’t look like anything, but everybody had fun making them.

They make forts and towers and there’s a really big castle where you can go and leave notes to dead people if you want, like grandma. And I saw a chair as big as my garage, and people slept on it, but I don’t know how they got up.

People walk around on really tall stilts and there are blue people and red people, too.

At night everybody puts bright lights and glowy stuff all over them and on the bikes and cars. I’ve never seen lights like this before and everybody is all lit up and they all go out in the desert and there are dancing people who throw fire around and then they burn this big wooden guy and everyone gets quiet and then everybody gets to yell. I thought we’d have to go home after, but we didn’t.

Everyone lights up their tents and towers and cars for a long time. It’s really cool at night. I don’t know why we don’t do all this stuff at home.

You can make stuff and give it to people and make them happy. And sometimes maybe they give stuff back. I got a snow cone and popsicles and lemonade and a necklace and popcorn. And everybody’s nice.

We made little men that glowed at night that people could wear around their necks.

It gets really hot like that day last summer, and then it gets cold, so you can wear beach stuff and then you get to change into comfy coats and furry hats in really bright colors.

There’s a lot of music. A lot of people have music, even all night long. They have these cool drums that go all the time, even when I woke up in the morning. Pete had music and a microphone you could talk into and everybody could hear. I got silly one night and said dumb things into it, but nobody frowned or made me stop.

You can ride out in the desert on your bike and see stuff. It’s all dusty and the wind blows a lot and it gets all white and you can’t see anything. But it’s OK and then it stops and you can see again. There’s this place with hot bubbling water in the ground, and some people get in. And people build art stuff in the desert and you can go see it.

I saw people take showers, but you don’t have to a lot here. There aren’t any spiders or mosquitoes on this desert, or weeds even, and you can ride your bike fast cuz it’s really flat.

I liked it a lot. Everybody has different kinds of fun. Some people have places where you can dance or take a nap if you’re tired, or get your bike fixed or get lemonade or coffee if you want, or go roller skating or spin around on this big ride. Or they’ll tell you stories or teach you how to do things. And there’s this big lightning thing that’s cool, and everything is free. Except ice and fancy coffee, and I don’t know why that is.

Everybody gets to stay up late and play, and you don’t even have to go to bed if you don’t want. When it gets hot, we get to play games in the tent. And Pete brought drums and a bell and other things that make noise, and he taught us all how to play them all together. After it’s hot we have a big cookout and have all my favorite food. And sleeping out is cool, and all the people have different tents, a lot of them they made themselves. And there weren’t any rocks under my sleeping bag, either.

I didn’t know grownups did all this stuff. But these grownups are OK. They like the same stuff I do.

by David Kinkead

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Tales From the Playa

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