By approximately 11:45 p.m. last night, Burning Man’s Department of Motor Vehicles had been saran wrapped.
The ingenious pranksters put all the furniture in the building together and saran wrapped into bunches, and then took a vehicle with a giant roll of saran wrap and actually wrapped the building exterior itself shut.
This is, without a doubt, the single greatest Burning Man prank since last year’s “hijacking” of the 747.
According to reliable sources on the prankster grapevine, the culprits were a coalition of members from other Burning Man staff departments. Whether this will serve as a declaration of war, and reprisals will follow, remains to be seen, but is devoutly hoped for.
Moments like this are one of the things that make Burning Man great, and if you want to know how you can be a part of it, then the answer is simple. You don’t have to start off with an epic level prank like this … this is advanced stuff … instead you just have to say “yes!” when magic moments start to happen.
This sounds simple, I know, but in the experience of Matt Sundquist, general manager of Fly Ranch, even a lot of Burners don’t understand the power of saying “yes” to a moment of inspiration.
Burning Man has offered tours of Fly Ranch to people at Burning Man for the last two years, but the problem was always how to figure out who to bring. There are simply too many interested people at Black Rock City to put up an open call list, and yet the alternatives involve giving special treatment to people who know people and friends of friends. So this year they decided to try something different.
“We drove around Black Rock City in a van, and as we passed random groups of people we’d open the doors to the van and say ‘Do you want to go on an adventure?'” Matt said.
Most people said no.
Bu those who said “yes,” and got in the van, were driven out of Black Rock City and off the playa to Fly Ranch, where they were given a tour complete with an opportunity to swim in the hot springs (towels provided). Then they were brought back to Black Rock City, clean, refreshed, and with an amazing story to tell.
All they had to do was say “yes” when someone asked them “do you want to go on an adventure?”
And hey, everybody gets to Burn however they want to. The 10 Principles are guides and aspirations, a common vocabulary and set of questions, not commandments. But I would like to suggest that 30 years of Burning Man, plus years of the Cacophony Society before it, and the Suicide Club before that, all lead to an inescapable conclusion: if you want the kind of magic that Burning Man brings into your life, then you need to practice saying “yes” to strange and wonderful moments when they happen.
One of the things I love most about Burning Man is the way in which I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I mean, most of us lead the kind of lives where we have a pretty good sense of what’s going to happen to us this week, or this month. Some of us have five year plans, and we work hard to keep things under control.
At Burning Man, I have no idea what’s gong to happen when I cross the street. And, under the right conditions, that leads to incredible experiences that make me laugh harder than I ever get to do, and are good for my soul besides. But I’m so practiced at trying to keep things under control in my life that I need to practice saying “yes” to moments I don’t understand. Those “yesses” are the fuel that powers and engine of possibility.
Sometimes that will lead you to one of the most amazing places on earth. Sometimes it will lead you to saran wrapping a building. Sometimes it means that you, as the victim of this wrapping, get the opportunity to hold a war council and plot an even more hilarious retaliatory prank … which, to be clear, is what I hope is happening at this very moment.
And there will, by the way, be other opportunities to visit Fly Ranch. The Burning Man Project actually offers regular tours during most of the year. But if you’re at Black Rock City and want to go to Fly Ranch … and trust me, you do … then may I suggest going to one of the three community meetings about Fly Ranch scheduled for this week? I’m not promising anything, but an opportunity might arise.
Or you might get saran wrapped. Either way, it’s going to be amazing.
Cover photo of Fly Ranch by Graham Berry