Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spin Cycle in the Triciasphere

I'm not as excited today about Burning Man as I was yesterday.   Maybe my excitement was so high yesterday that I wore myself out.  Or maybe I'm just being weird about social stuff.

Burning Man is kind of complicated - or maybe it's always a little tricky for somebody new to join an existing group of people who are already involved in an ongoing project.  It's tricky for little kids, for sure. When there are a few friends in the block area working together on a large structure, or a small group in the house corner all involved in an active pretend play scenario - like Chinese Restaurant, for example - everyone who is playing is so involved that they don't even notice the kid on the side trying to figure out how to join the group.

Lots of kids figure it out; lots of kids need help approaching the situation.  So I'm thinking it's always tricky to join an existing group no matter who you are - and if you barge in without thinking about the group dynamics and nuanced relationships, then most likely you're a clod and that's a different situation all together.  Grown-ups are trickier to figure out than little kids, though, because of those very same nuances.  It's hard to decipher how people fit together, and how you as a new person will fit into the picture, when you know nothing of the backstory.  

Little kids don't waste time trying to size somebody up - they just play and if it turns out the new kid is a pain in the ass, they deal with it in the moment.  Grown-ups are different because most of us don't live in the moment - we look at the past as if it's indicative of the future.  And if the new person is being introduced to an existing group by a established member, then impressions of the new one are colored by the collective history of the members.

The thing that really troubling me, I suspect, is that the fellow with whom I would be tagging along is sort of half way expecting his lover from last year to turn up.  They haven't stayed in close touch this past year since she's young and has been traveling in South America.  Not as young as all that, however, since she's in her early 30s.  I don't know much about it really.  Just a few sentences in an IM chat, and the little I could discover perusing the photos on his Facebook account.  Everyone who will be in the camp knows her from last year, and from the interchanges in the facebook group, it seems like they'll be glad to see her again.  Most likely there's a young woman from the year before that, and the year before that too.  Maybe everybody in the group has lovers scattered around Black Rock City.  What do I know?  I do know that if I'm bunking in an RV that sleeps three with Pinko and his lover, that could be awkward.  I also tend to think that if she's already part of the group and he's saving her a spot in the camper, he's not thinking of me like that.  Or maybe he thinks of everybody like that.  Either way, it's awkward.  I don't mind awkward situations when I'm in the city, but the middle of the desert seems problematic.  I'm just not the kind of person who flops down anywhere for the night.

It's not like there are no former lovers in my history.  It's just that there are very few photos in the first place and even if I had photos of former lovers, they wouldn't be on Facebook.  More to the point, however, is that I am not in any way attached to the men in my past.  If I were still attached to a man, he'd be in the present not in the past.  Mostly they're all just characters in my life story now, and I look back on them fondly except Notta Goodman.  I'm still decidedly hostile about Notta Goodman, but The Narcissist makes me laugh these days despite the heartbreak at the time.  It's like Carolyn Myss says - people come into each other's lives because there's a lesson to be learned.  Once you learn it, you move on to new lessons and new people unless a person is part of your ongoing healing.  Carolyn Myss says we're all here to heal in the first place.  Healing is the purpose of this life.  Marianne Williamson says that all relationships are lifelong because people influence your development in lasting ways and that connections continue after a person is gone.  I can talk about the metaphysics of relationships all night long - the point here is that Whatever with my romantic history, none of it is on Facebook.

There is also the reality that PENolan is on Facebook but Tricia Real Name is barely in sight.  My family and friends from real life all know that I exist under a pseudonym on the internet.   PENolan voices all the thoughts Real Name is sometimes too inhibited or polite to say out loud.  If anyone were going to try to gain any insight into my history from looking at Facebook, they'd find a little bit about Real Name, but they'd primarily find out about PENolan.  For the most part, PENolan and Real Name don't overlap. It's more like PENolan is Real Name's invisible friend.  PENolan will boldly go out and about; Real Name is kind of shy.

Yesterday, I had posted a number of photos that Nicole's roommate Gabriel took of me for Worldwide Hippies.  I'll be starting to do a little segment called, "Greetings from the Triciasphere" in a week or two, and Joe wanted a few photos to create an intro for my segment.  So yesterday my Facebook profiles had more pictures of myself than had been posted for years.  I changed the settings so that the album I created from the photos isn't visible anymore because I didn't like the way those 20 or so pictures dominated the top of the screen if somebody wanted to check me out - which is what people do when you're first joining groups.

They were nice pictures though.  Here's one of me at Cafe Luxembourg talking to this guy named Emanuel who lives in Hawaii and works on The Intention Call.  It's a cool project if you're into Hippy Dippy New Age Spirituality - which I am

Here's me telling a story to Nicole in my living room.  No telling what I was talking about - but I remember the story involved the gay porn stars:

And here's me at the computer.  Gabriel shot one of them through the mirror - which I like because of all that reflecting I was doing a few months ago when I was getting settled in the apartment

If you click on this one to enlarge it, you'll see the bevelled edge of the mirror.

I had fun with this project because Gabriel is an easy going, pleasant, handsome, lefty young Brazilian who is in town going to film school for a year.  Here's his Facebook profile picture

I like the idea of Greetings from the Triciasphere on Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff.  For a little while yesterday, I decided I should get press credentials for Burning Man and do some exploring and reporting for Worldwide Hippies.  That way, I would be at Burning for my own work instead of simply following around some guy.  And for real, if I go to Burning it will be because I believe it's the path I need to take for my own reasons.  Also for real, I would never in a million years go out there by myself.

The fact is that I am infinitely more interested in seeing Pinko in his preferred habitat than anything else.  I'd be glad to have drinks with him in Reno, but since The Playa is one of his most favorite places, it's the perfect place to meet him.   In my head, it was just like meeting other friends from the internet in real life - except that it was at Burning Man, which is cool, and since we are both single and dating, there was always the possibility that it could turn into a date.  I was cool with sleeping in an RV with a man I'd never met because (1) Pinko is cool and (2) I was open to the idea of a fling.  If it turned out to be a bad idea, I could find my way to my cousin's at Tahoe easily enough.  If it turned out to be a good idea, I could hang around a while.  I understand that Burning is all about the moment and that it's the kind of environment where people will spontaneously hook up.  But I'm traditional enough to believe you should Dance With Who Brung Ya, as we learned back in Texas.  So I'd be sharing a small space with a man who didn't bring me and with a woman who may or may not be interested in sleeping with him again in a place where the people are so relaxed about body stuff that they pee into funnels right in front of God and Everybody.  Suddenly, I feel like Nancy Reagan.

Lots of people say that Burning Man is a life changing experience, but my life doesn't particularly need changing.  It's good like it is, and it feels like I'm heading in the right direction.  I suppose that if I'm just going with the flow, and the flow is leading to Burning Man, then these logistical complications will resolve themselves without me having to do anything except pay attention and have my bank card ready.

I'm troubled about the social aspects now.  I expect that if I'm still troubled this time next week, I just won't open my wallet and that will be the end of that.  I've taken plenty of risks in my time, and I'm always up for an adventure - but there's no reason to be hasty, as Treebeard the Ent likes to say.

For the last few weeks, maybe because of my birthday or maybe as a result of finally getting settled in the new place, I've been thinking about the relationship between PENolan and Real Name.  Using the Triciasphere as the context for the Worldwide Hippies segment totally combines the two personas - sort of like we're both swirling around on the event horizon of some kind of singularity, which would naturally be the Triciasphere.

Although a few folks from the outside world have ventured into the Triciasphere, I've never taken the show on the road, as it were, and that's exactly what would happen if I really land in Pinko's RV in a place known as Illumination Village.  Simply writing the words is exciting, but I'm hesitant.  I'm feeling a little out of my depth as I'm observing the interaction and dialog in the little facebook group where Pinko's friends from Burning are making arrangements and plans.  I'm enough of a Hippy Dippy New Ager to think that if I'm supposed to go to Burning, then I'll wind up at Burning.
I just have to stay out of my own way.

I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box. 
Religion is the smile on a dog. 
I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep. 
What I am is what I am. Are you what you are - or what? 
I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks. 
Religion is a light in the fog. 
I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep. 
What I am is what I am. Are you what you are - or what? 
Don't let me get too deep.

"What I Am," Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians (1988)


Lawrence Schwartz said...

I don't believe that I am an accidental asshole, but I do so love to believe in accidents. You continue to make me smile accidentally. Drop some acid while you're there! Think of you from time to time to time. Glad you're well.

The Bartender

PENolan said...

Bartender, if I wind up going, I will certainly consider altering my consciousness somehow. As it happens, I was thinking of you yesterday morning because a fellow at work had on a Cheers tee-shirt.
Reminded me of you and made me smile.
You and I had a memorable first date - glad you didn't need an ambulance after all.

Cali said...

You aren't as excited about the Burn today because you are letting your fears creep in. Don't worry. That's normal, especially since you need a little clarity on what's going on with Pinko and his gal pal. The thing is, people need each other on the Playa just to survive and everyone is conscious of that. If you went and the sleeping situation didn't work out, I'm sure you'd find another place to sleep immediately, hell, Pinko would help you find someplace safe.

I've never heard of an RV that only sleeps three, and I've lived in a bunch of them. I think even a Volkswagen bus will sleep four, two in the bed and two on the floor! We showed dogs when I was a teenager and there were a number of trailers and motorhomes over the years. Everything from a cabover camper (slept four) to a 38-foot Class A motorhome which slept 10 or 12, originally. (We'd removed a couple of bunks to install dog crates.)

I actually LOVE this song. It reminds me of a fantastic time in my life. Everyone around me was new-age-y and musical. I was the Greenbud Lady. It was the only time in my life when I ever actually felt like an "insider." It was one of the few times in my life when depression wasn't dragging me ever downward. I had lots of friends and nothing but a tiny black and white TV in the corner. We didn't watch TV except for big events like when the Berlin Wall fell and Tiananmen Square. We listened to music CONSTANTLY. We had a scheduled jam session every Saturday afternoon, and sometimes it would last until Sunday evening. In summer we had river floats and barbecues. Concerts were regularly attended, and bars still had real bands back then, not DJs. If it wasn't fun, we didn't do it! Having lots of "visitors" it was easy to pay people half a gram an hour for household chores that needed to be done. Handy, too, especially when I broke my right hand on some guy's face.

Thanks for bringing back all of those good memories of one of the only times in my life when I was truly happy. I really appreciate it.

Cali said...

The system wouldn't let me put my whole comment in one, so...

Don't worry about not feeling hearts and flowers for Notta, give it time and the feelings will dissipate. He's just the most recent disappointment. It'll get easier with time.

I'm not FB Friends with any of my exes, either. But the ex's, ex won't seem to leave me alone! I haven't had to come face to face with her yet, but I don't think I'm going to be able to put it off much longer. My old friends want to see me. Because we went to school together my old friends are OUR old friends. She's become an alcoholic that will show up anywhere there's the possibility of free booze.

If healing is the purpose of life, boy, have I been headed in the wrong direction! I gotta tell ya, no man has ever healed me from anything, they just wound me and then they leave. Lately, it seems I have a new malady almost every day. The latest? My new temp RNP tells me I have SCABIES. Nobody I know has it. I haven't had ANY sort of sex in two-and-a-half years, and it's been six years since I had the real thing. I don't snuggle with anyone but my chihuahuas. I don't wear anyone else's clothes, and they don't wear mine. We have our own washer and dryer, so I don't even use communal laundry. How the HELL did I get SCABIES?????? I'm pretty sure she's wrong and this is some sort of dermatitis, but, who knows? I'm just glad the hydrocortisone cream is working. That itching was driving me mad!

Those ARE lovely photos! I can't decide which I like best! I'll bet young Gabriel is just beside himself being in NYC while his country is EXPLODING in protest! I know I would be, and so would my son.

One of your "logistical complications" has already been cleared up. But even if you don't end up going to Burning Man, I still hope you'll come to CA. I'd enjoy driving you from the bay to Tahoe every bit as much as driving you to Reno, maybe more! After all, Tahoe is GORGEOUS in August, and by August I'll do ANYTHING to get out of the heat of this damn valley for a day!

There's also the possibility of taking the five-dollar tour of California's gold country, where I live. If I were set up for guests, you could stay here, but not only are we crowded, my house is OLD and a total shit-hole that has had zero maintenance done since '97. Still, I know some decent and CHEAP motels nearby, so there's always that possibility. It's only about $25-- if we go in halfsies. :)

PENolan said...

Cali - as attractive as all that sounds, I have formerly bowed out of the Burning experience. When you're paying $650 for a ticket, you better feel comfortable about going. I am uncomfortable about going.
I will write a whole post about it, I'm sure.
Maybe tomorrow or the next day.
I'm just sad right now.

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