Saturday, July 13, 2013

Burning, Hell and Texas

Many people have wondered if I would ever move back to Texas - and for a long time I thought it was the right thing to do.  That was before I did the math and saw that Conventional Wisdom might say that life in Texas is more affordable than life in the big city, but the reality is just the opposite.  When I first started cruising the Austin real estate ads a couple of years ago, I discovered that the house in Austin my parents bought for me to live in during college, which we sold in 1981 for $35,000, was for sale for $325,000.  It was a cute house in a good location, but considering that preschool teachers get paid less than $15.00 an hour in Texas, and half of the jobs are with academically oriented religious schools where I wouldn't work for $150 per hour or even $15,000 per hour - the financial equation in Texas made no sense.  I'd have made more teaching Pre-K in a public school, but the public schools there are still under the control of the Texas Taliban.

This same group of Christian Tyrants have now gone so crazy that my friends and family may be looking at my little home in Harlem as a safe house somewhere in the Land of the Sane.

I don't know all the legislative particulars, but over the last couple of weeks, the campaign to corral women's reproductive freedom has reached such a dramatic level of patriarchal intrusion that the cops in charge of security at the Texas Capital confiscated tampons and maxipads from women entering the gallery because tampons could be weapons - but people toting six shooters were perfectly free to wander the legislative halls (ThinkProgress). The thinking, if you can call it that, is that a big, strong, God-fearing man might need to shoot a crazy woman wielding a Tampax.

Women have every right to oppose this arrogant, ignorant foolishness - and not only because a bunch of bible toting white men are trying to enslave women as completely as they're hoping to enslave brown people in low-wage jobs.  Actually, everybody except the bible toting white men and their Stepford wives and concubines are supposed to be enslaved - and the concubines better behave or they'll be beaten with a buggy whip.  We have to remember here that white men in Texas prevented the slaves from hearing about the Emancipation Proclamation for several months - leading to the contemporary holiday Juneteenth which celebrates the day the slaves finally heard they had been freed.

Whatever with this patriarchal longing to return to the plantation - the real story, in my opinion, is that once abortions are so restricted that only women who can afford to pay privately (namely the daughters of rich white guys who get pregnant in high school, thereby fucking up the opportunity to marry her off in a way that increases the value of the family holdings) - Rick Perry's family will be making money off licensing private abortion providers.

Houston Chronicle,  July 5, 2013: Perry's Sister an Advocate for Surgical Centers

So anyway, the next time somebody wants to know why I'm not moving back to Texas, I'm showing them this shit.

Meanwhile, visions of Burning Man still dance in my head.  I had totally given up on the idea of going to Burning Man until my bosses distributed the calendar for next school year stating in writing on a chart that I don't have to report back to work until September 4.  As I have previously mentioned, I wouldn't be thinking about Burning Man at all except that I know this guy, Pinko the Bear, aka ABear, who sometimes acts like a recruiter for the Burn.

I was talking with Max the Psychic Life Coach and Hairdresser yesterday about the important issue of my hair and it turns out that Max was at the second Burn ever.  Actually, Max and I were talking about a lot of things, but the hair logistics are the strongest driving force behind the California trip.  Meeting Pinko at Burning is another.

A few weeks ago, right after the shifting work calendar cleared the way for Burning, this song woke me up:

We all know that when a song hits my brain so hard it wakes me up in the morning, it's sort of like getting a message from God, in Freudian terms. I couldn't place all that Ba De Ya - and frankly I thought the whole chorus was a bunch of Ba De Ya-ing. Since ABear is a career DJ, I reckoned he should be able to instantly identify Ba De Yas, and sure enough he was.

Now, Since the Man Burns on September 2nd, and I don't have to be back until the morning of September 4th - and since Pinko the Bear tosses out lures as if he were the Pied Piper of the Playa - I decided that the universe had sent me a message, and I was supposed to meet Pinko in the desert, much like Jake and Elwood were on a Mission from God.

Once Jake and Elwood get involved, Resistance is Futile. Nevertheless, resistance remains in the form of a female known as Seldom Seen:

Self-Portrait of Seldom-Seen in Bolivia
Apparently, she had a place in Pinko's RV long before anyone every thought of me going to Burning. She and Pinko have their own story, and it's not for me to tell, especially since I have minimal information and no details at all.  I just know his mother is glad to pick her up at the airport and have her as a guest in the family home.  All well and good since the point of meeting Pinko in the desert may have nothing to do with Pinko personally.  I just haven't shared a small space with a fucking couple since Tish and I were roommates in Maple Hall freshman year at North Texas State University.  More importantly, I am not remotely interested in shacking up with Seldom-Seen, and given that Pinko has made it clear that he prefers to keep his options open, I'm less inclined to open mine.

Which brings us back to my original point of resistance to this entire Burning episode - sex and accommodations.  My bloggy buddy Cali says not to stress over it because you can always find a place to rest among friends on the playa.  I suppose that if one arranges transportation to the playa by sitting on top of your duffle bag in a grocery store parking lot in Reno and jumping into the car with random strangers all determined to have a life-changing adventure, then plopping down anywhere in the dust is de rigueur.  As the Burners say:  In dust we trust.

The good news is that Pinko's friend Simmer, with whom I have just connected, is so chill and welcoming that it may be that the whole reason for the mission is so she and I can meet.  Pinko and Seldom Seen can remain his mother's concern, especially since I already have a kid.

When I have shared some of my concerns with Pinko, he has admonished me for thinking too much.  I maintain that action without reflection leads to just the sort of foolishness recently on display in the Texas State House, and no way in Hell am I going there.


Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Good'n, dahlin!

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I'd have made more teaching Pre-K in a public school, but the public schools there are still under the control of the Texas Taliban.-----

Boy o boy.... you said it! LOL Great post, darlin.

Amanda said...

I've never been to Burning Man, only to its virtual sibling, Burning Life. I'd love to hit the real event someday, before I'm in a wheelchair that will sink right into the playa :P

I can't even begin to comment on the insanity in Texas. It causes me to gibber, and my husband have a date tonight so gibbering isn't on the menu.

Jono said...

Never had any desire to live in Texastan. You reinforce my reasons why.

PENolan said...

Thanks, Gwen and Woody
Amanda, hope you had a lovely date with no gibbering at all
Jono - those adirondack chairs in the photo on your blog look far superior to an afternoon in Texas.

Karlo said...

I think I need to go to Burning Man. Maybe next year.

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