Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

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chica63
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Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

Post by chica63 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:44 pm

Last year was my first year at Burning Man. Words can not even describe the experience of one of the best times of my life. It was magical and life changing... but not all experiences at Burning Man are happy ones. In fact, the most important lesson I learned was one that may have hurt someone else and I am forever haunted by the three minutes I wasn't paying attention.

I haven't shared this with many people because I'm still so ashamed and disappointed in myself but since I'm unable to go to Burning Man this year I thought I would share with you now in an effort to 'give back' this year and maybe help someone else.

On our first full day on the playa, my camp mate and I headed out on our bikes to check out the regional art that circled the Man. One piece was a sort of tree house and as my camp mate climbed up to the second story I was having trouble with it (I'm afraid of heights but I was much better by weeks end ;) ) and also having trouble with my camera and taking pix of her up top. We were there alone when a young woman rode up about 10 feet away and said "need help?" I just smiled and thanked her but said we were fine and went back to laughing and taking pictures. The woman stayed there for a moment, looking back and forth between us, then put her head down and started trying to ride off but was obviously unable to steer her bike and had a hard time getting going. In that moment it hit me that she wasn't asking if WE needed help, she was asking FOR help. My heart SANK. I went up to her, put my hands out and said 'do YOU need help?" but by that time she just shook her head and rode quickly away from me. I saw her ride off towards a crowd and towards the man thinking ok.. ok.. good.. there will be people there to help her. But still, I didn't.

Now I know from experience that many will say: 'you didn't know"; "don't beat yourself up over it" but I'm still crying now thinking about that young woman and hoping she made it back to her camp safely or at least to someone who recognized she needed help and gave it to her. To her, I am the person who wouldn't help her at Burning Man, out in the hot fucking desert, when she needed it most. I let her down. I let everyone down by not paying attention, not fully engaging with someone who approached me. Be it good or bad, being aware, present, open and fully engaged is what it's all about, right?

It's a hard lesson I learned but I try to remember it every day in my regular ole life. Pay attention and be fully engaged when talking with someone. Even if it's just a boring conversation about what kind of detergent they prefer, I remind myself that human connection and interaction is vital.

So my advice.. my plea.. to newbies and veterans alike, stay present and open. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Pay attention when someone is speaking to you. They could be offering you a slice of the sweetest, coldest watermelon ever or they could be asking for life saving help. And you don't want to miss either.
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Drawingablank
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Re: Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

Post by Drawingablank » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:04 pm

I think you are beating yourself up over this too much.

You took it as a question due to the fact that you were struggling at the time and that most folks have a short attention span on the playa seems to make you blameless in my eyes.

So the lesson that should be learned here by all is that lots of folks will be happy to help - but make sure they know you are requesting help. If she had said I need help, or can you help me? things would have probably turned out much differently.
Savannah: I don't know what it is, but no thread here escapes alive. You'll get 1 or 2 real answers at minimum, occasionally 10 or 12, and then we flog it until it's unrecognizable and you can't get your deposit back.

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chica63
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Re: Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

Post by chica63 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:13 pm

Thank you.

And yes, the other lesson here would be to speak up and ask for help. If someone isn't responsive, say it again and make sure they hear you. My feeling in this situation was that she was so out of it (in what way, I don't know) that she couldn't communicate well, and that's what upset me most. I was a bartender for 17 years, I should have been able to recognize someone in trouble. But I do appreciate your kind words. All I can do is do better next time.
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Savannah
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Re: Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

Post by Savannah » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:20 pm

It's easier to see where the misunderstanding happened. She probably forgave you a lot sooner than you forgave yourself.
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Elderberry
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Re: Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

Post by Elderberry » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:33 pm

Drawingablank wrote:I think you are beating yourself up over this too much.

You took it as a question due to the fact that you were struggling at the time and that most folks have a short attention span on the playa seems to make you blameless in my eyes.

So the lesson that should be learned here by all is that lots of folks will be happy to help - but make sure they know you are requesting help. If she had said I need help, or can you help me? things would have probably turned out much differently.
Totally agree. I'll bet that person doesn't even remember the encounter. :shock:
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Re: Serious Topic. Newbie Advice. Stay Present.

Post by C187 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:57 pm

I'll be honest, it sounds like to me that you simply read something more into it, and projected your own what-not onto her question. Your advice is sound, however I would add that most of the time cigars are in fact cigars, and there is no deeper meaning than what we choose to be.
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