Thursday, March 07, 2013


I went to this masquerade charity ball thingy a few weeks ago with some friends. It's a long story. I'm neither accustomed to attending charity functions or masquerade balls because 1) I am stingy 2) like, where are all the masquerade balls, anyway?

Anyway. Our friend's mom was there, and she's a retired art teacher with this very open, bubbly personality that draws people in like so many errant cat hairs on a sticky-roller. She's not judgmental; she just lets people fly their big old freak flags and asks if they'd like more wine.

Which is a great way to be. Accepting. I am not this way. My husband speaks in absolutes: You hate everyone. 

I don't hate everyone. But some people are more trouble than they're worth, to me. I, unlike my friend's mother, become very impatient when I'm expected to invest time in troublesome chatterboxes.

This is not even what this post is about. This post is about ... Well I'm not sure, but I'll right myself here shortly.

One of my friend's mother's friends (this is beginning to sound stupid but bear with me) was also attending this charity masquerade ball, and wearing a large faux fur coat. Like, if a yeti were a real thing, this would be dreadlocked yeti fur or something.

She's, I don't know ... 60? Maybe older? I'm terrible with ages.

And she says, This is the coat I wear to Burning Man.


I don't know.

I've been thinking about that sentence for a few weeks now.

Because I spend a lot of time doing things people in their mid-30s do. Stereotypically. My alcohol tolerance isn't what it used to be. I can't pull an all-nighter and wouldn't try given the opportunity. I have a very close and disturbing relationship with my Tivo. "Adventurous" is not my middle name. My main goals at the moment are to have a child and remodel my house. I am a living, breathing stereotype.

And I have to believe that this woman in the yeti jacket, that her statement about Burning Man is really the tip of the iceberg. Don't you think? There's a whole other thing going on there. A whole other life philosophy and way of doing things.

Which is cool.

That's all. It's just cool.

And I see how maybe she's a living, breathing stereotype, too. But I wonder how it happens. When people choose their paths. What shapes that? And what's the more difficult path to choose? And who is happiest? Or is everyone equally happy?

Just wondering.

Here, by the way, is a very long and interesting and beautifully written article by a guy who took his dad to Burning Man this year.


  1. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so judgemental. Sometimes I'm glad I'm so judgemental. My first inclination is to say that Burning Man people are less happy than the rest of us because they have to try so hard to be accepted or have to deal with never being acceptable, but my second inclination is to say that those kind of people don't care about fitting in. Which is . . . good, I guess? I don't know. I figure we all have a lot to be happy and unhappy about in our own ways. I still like my way best.

    1. I like that you like your way the best. I'm not sure if I've figured out what my way is!

  2. I'd rather be the old lady in the yeti coat. There's still time. I may wind up being her.

    1. Invite me to Burning Man! Bloggers in the Desert!

  3. Erin, at 51, I feel like I'm *just now* beginning to find out what "my way" is. Which is unfortunate, since I was much cuter 25 years ago and could have pulled "my way" off much better, I'm pretty certain.