The Routine of a Black Rock City Dentist

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Black Rock City, 2015. Dr. Dentata, a young woman with pink in her hair, a teal scrubs top with fairy wings sewn on the back & cut open in the front to reveal a sparkle bra, and galaxy print leggings, rides her bicycle. A tent pole arched above her bike reads: “Show me your teeth.”

Enter Patient.

Dr.

You there! I bet you have a dirty mouth. Let’s clean your dirty,  dirty mouth.

(Dr. retrieves a small white bench from her bike and unfolds it onto the playa.)

Sit down right here and let me see what I can do for you.

Patient 

(Sits with some trepidation and maybe a little excitement.)

Dr.

(Dr. unzips a case labelled “REAL OFFICIAL DENTIST STUFF”.  Sharp implements and other tools such as a dangerous-looking set of pliers, are visible to Patient. She starts opening a display box filled with adult molar teeth.)

We’ve done a lot of extractions today. These are – Oh whoops…

(She apparently pops one of the teeth into her mouth. Patient does not know it is actually a corn nut.)

Anyway these are the molars I have extracted today. Very successful. Let’s take a look at you. Open your mouth.

(Dentist chews corn nut loudly in Patient’s ear as she leans close to his face to inspect teeth.)

Oh, oh no, you will not need an extraction. Just a cleaning. Your mouth is really filthy, you know. Okay! Can you hold this for me?

(Dr. hands Patient a funnel attached to a tube. The other end of the tube leads to a milk carton labelled “SPIT” which is attached to the bike.)

If you ever need to spit, just spit right in there. You’re a spitter aren’t you? Well I’m a spitter. You just spit out that gross gunk right into the funnel.

I’ve got some protective gear for you. Protect you from your own spit! 

(Dr. hangs a blue bib around Patient’s neck, using a small alligator clip jumper – the kind used in testing electronics.)

And these. Protect you from my headlight shining in your face. Watch that hippie mace! 

(Dr. puts wrap-around sunglasses on Patient. Next she will remove a toothbrush from its cellophane wrapper. This she will set out on the silver spray-painted tray in front of her kit, as well as a single water balloon.)

Patient

What’s the balloon for?

Dr.

Don’t ask me questions. Just let me do my job honey. 

Ok! I have a gross of these toothbrushes. That’s 144 toothbrushes! Alright now; now I need protection for myself! Protect me from your filth.

(Dr. struggles to put on blue nitrile disposable gloves.)

These are powder free. Playa dust is the best powder, anyway.

Now, you have your choice of flavors. I’ve got this blue one.. It tastes like bubblegum. It’s called tootie fruity but it’s really bubblegum. Then there’s pinkie pie. Tastes like a joly rancher. I love that one. Or we have boring adult mint toothpaste. Whad’ya say?

 Patient

I’ll take the mint. 

Dr.

No, no you’ll use the pink one. Everyone uses the pink one. It’s better. It’s fine. Ok.

(Dr. applies toothpaste and starts brushing teeth.) 

This is the part where I talk to you and ask you questions you can’t answer because you’ve got a fucking toothbrush in your mouth! What’s your name?

Patient

(muffled) Gary.

Dr.

Hi Gawy! I’m Dr. Dentata. But I bet you saw that already. On my name tag! Oh boy, this would be more fun for you if I had bigger breasts.

(Dr. looks down her own shirt.) 

Do you need to spit honey? Here this will help. It’s water.

(She pulls out a spray bottle.)

It’s so hot. I should just spray you all over the face. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Ok spit! 

Gawy

Thank you.

Dr.

Ok hold this for me. Like this.

(Dr. unspools a generous length of floss. She holds it up, then threads it through the eye at the base of the toothbrush. She ties the ends in a knot, then puts the water balloon over the bristles. She hangs this toothbrush necklace on Gawy’s neck. Then removes and discards her gloves.)

There! All clean now. Let’s get your safety gear.

(Dr. puts away everything, including the bench. So, Gawy is now standing.)

What an ordeal! Do you want a hug? Yeah, a nice hug. 

Scene. 


 

Note, I will not be posting next week as I will still be travelling back from Burning Man! 

 

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How to go to the Creationism Museum in Santee

Wait until it is Tuesday (admission is free on Tuesdays). Obtain a beverage. A horchata is nice. I definitely did not do this, and neither should you put whiskey in your horchata, but it is surely something to think about…

horchata

Drive to the very end of Mission Gorge in Santee, where if you go much further you will be headed out to Lakeside (and there is never any reason to go there). Find the building fronted with authoritative, reflective black letters: “CREATION AND EARTH HISTORY MUSEUM.” You will also see a statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Walk inside. Bring your horchata. It’s totally chill.

creationist-museum-santee-san-diego-dinosaur Walk briskly through the gift shop and avoid eye contact with the cashier. Snort loudly, then cover your mouth, when the first thing you see is a cheesy light toy paired with solemn Psalms 22:1. Use the change from your horchata to amuse yourself with the coin funnel that is decorated with stickers of planets. Donate a total of 31 cents.

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Proceed through the days of creation. Find animals. Exclaim, “Oh my god there is animals here!” Wonder if the docents have heard you take the lord’s name in vain. Decide the turtle is secretly atheist, like you, but he’s not trying to make a big deal about it.

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Don’t forget, also, to stare for a long time at the mural of dead animals and dead animal parts. It is a work of art.

IMAG0199IMAG0201Listen to your friend make loud monkey noises in the other room. It is like Disneyland here. Although…a docent does emerge from a hidden hallway, after the shouting. Sip your horchata while your friends discuss topics ranging from skin color to the Tower of Babel with the docent. He will call you “secularists.”

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Don’t forget to try to put the round peg in the square hole.

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Wish you had a T-shirt of the sign that says NO RUNNING IN THE MUSEUM. It is so punk rock.

no-running-in-the-museum

Sit down a spell on the nice couch and listen to the man on the TV. He is in a very busy-looking room. Where is he? In front of a green screen? Chortle at a bad jump cut. You are almost done with your horchata. You are keeping it together. You are doing just fine.

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This is the part where the docent comes back and hands your friends brochures. He will give you the last one, and say, “You probably like dogs.” He is not wrong. Maybe God helps him to see these things.

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Consult your smartphone to check the spelling of “efficacy.” Wait. LOL “tratement.”

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Oh god. Oh god no…. Drop your horchata taking a picture of the fertilization sign. It will seem like it is ok at first, because it landed upright, but actually the bottom will bust open, spilling your remaining beverage in a sticky puddle. Take the horchata to the bathroom. Try to drink the rest of it over the sink, then chuck it in the trash. Wash your face. Use the toilet (it is very fancy). Look at the horchata in the trash and stomp it down with your boot. Maybe that helps? Come back to your spill with paper towels. Hear a little girl say, “Mommy, why does it smell like beer?” Oh god. God no. They know. Everyone totally knows.

IMAG0239Leave immediately. Go straight to the brewery across the street. Wish you could order something stiffer than beer (but the beer is pretty good anyway).

BNS Brewing and Distilling Co

News from the Resticles (Post Update: Burning Man 2014)

Deborah Colotti found my affectionate description of her Burning Man art installation and sent along some pictures.  She says:

I created the Resticles for Burning Man.
A few years ago I created BreastStop, a similar artwork with two smaller trampolines, and two not-dyed parachutes (they arrived pink from the surplus British military)
 
Here are a few images….
 
So very glad you enjoyed them so immensely.
Best,
Debo

I absolutely enjoyed them. 1. Comical premise felt appropriate in the festival context. 2. Excellent construction made them sturdy against the wind and clambering campers. 3. They created a must-needed bit of shade out in the deep playa. 4. Despite resembling hairy sacks of balls, they were very pretty.  See for yourself.

Resticles.Overview Resticles.PeekViewResticles.night Resticles.Day.CloseUp Interior View1

Please visit Deborah Colotti’s website for more art (frequently made from Barbies).

http://www.dcolotti.com/


…My first foray into deep playa, with my friend Alexis, was also on bike. I don’t have bicycle muscles. Soft playa is impossible. The word “disaster” stood out among jagged pieces of painted-black plywood and I moaned that that was where we belonged. “We can make it past disaster!” Alexis said and steered us toward what appeared to be a hairy purple caterpillar. I just wanted that caterpillar to eat me right up, it looked so friendly.

Correction, not caterpillar; balls. Two huge testicles, dubbed “Resticles.” We crawled inside the giant genital orbs and “hung out” in the lower sack for at least 2 hours. The scrotal skin, a dappled purple and pink, shimmered beautifully above me. Goddamnit, my first deep playa art was a gargantuan pair of bollocks and I really fucking loved them. I returned to this installation at least two more times during my burn…

(Read the original post sdsurvivalguide.com/2014/09/03/burning-man-2014-before-and-after/)

Burning Man 2014: Before and After

This post comes to you a day late because I had another priority yesterday: sleeping.

Before Burning Man

Before Burning Man

I did none of the things in last week’s blog post, and, just as my friends had warned me, did not make or keep plans besides trekking home every night for camp dinner.

After Burning Man

After Burning Man

My first impression of Black Rock City was that it was very small. I learned to ride a bike at Burning Man (I am serious) and did not realize right away just how much more ground I was covering with two wheels instead of just two legs. Lol what are miles? For the first couple of days, I felt like a happy little boy in a tiny town, singing, “I want to ride my bicycle,” in my head.

Remember the space koozie I was so proud of....?

Remember the space koozie I was so proud of….?

My first foray into deep playa, with my friend Alexis, was also on bike. I don’t have bicycle muscles. Soft playa is impossible. The word “disaster” stood out among jagged pieces of painted-black plywood and I moaned that that was where we belonged. “We can make it past disaster!” Alexis said and steered us toward what appeared to be a hairy purple caterpillar. I just wanted that caterpillar to eat me right up, it looked so friendly.

...it didn't last two days.

…it didn’t last two days.

Correction, not caterpillar; balls. Two huge testicles, dubbed “Resticles.” We crawled inside the giant genital orbs and “hung out” in the lower sack for at least 2 hours. The scrotal skin, a dappled purple and pink, shimmered beautifully above me. Goddamnit, my first deep playa art was a gargantuan pair of bollocks and I really fucking loved them. I returned to this installation at least two more times during my burn.

On the third day I spent more time on foot and finally realized BRC is huge. I never made it past 7:00 in any of my wanderings (everything is laid out in a radial “clock” pattern, so that means I did not explore about the first 4th of the city). On foot, I also interacted more with themed campsites, such as the “TSA” who ushered in partiers with orange safety vests and runway lights, and “Strangers with Candy” who gave me a lollipop and a margarita.

Beyond the third day, my memories begin to blend together. I recall feeling stunned by the beautiful, handmade books with thick, pulpy pages in the library. Someone wrote, “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” As an answer, someone wrote in slow, large, childish letters with a hot pink marker, “I would have a baby.” I nearly cried.

It isn’t quite true that Burning Man is beyond imagination, at least not for me. Once I solved the distortion of scale caused by bicycle, the city was about as large as I expected it to be. The people were about as weird and wonderful as I expected them to be. The art was as varied from bizarre and/or obvious and/or large as I expected it to be. My emotions were about as powerful as I expected them to be. I am familiar with burners, I am familiar with festival art, and I have quite the ability to imagine.

The one thing, I suppose, that really surprised me was Burning Man at night. I had not anticipated the overwhelming lights, sounds, and flurry of bicycles and art cars. To describe it in two words: “Camping Vegas.”

welcome home burning man

Packing notes for next year:

Bring more:

  • lights
  • bike decor
  • juice

Bring less:

  • clothing
  • beer (I always think I want a 30-rack of Tecate and then I just end up drinking mostly water when I camp in hot places)
  • baby wipes (6 packs were excessive)

 

Prophesy and Mad-ness in Black Rock City: Space Case goes to Burning Man

As you read this I am huddled inside of a fire-breathing octopus while a dust storm rages. I drink beer out of a space rocket. I have already begun to envy the alien inside, hermetically sealed against the powder clay in his plastic egg. Someday, when I am rich, I will trade my plush NASA helmet for a real one, with climate control and a respirator.

space case

Tonight, I will drink Baileys from a shoe.

Tomorrow I will make my own loincloth.

I will be beaten by gladiators with NERF axes and swords.

I will buy a soulmate at Costco.

I will customize a flamingo.

I will go to every camp having anything to do with space; Gravity, Celestial Bodies, Moon Cheese.

I will go Down The Rabbit Hole.

I will make smoothies in the desert.

I will do some or all or none of these things. Next week, we will see which of my predictions have come true.

If you see my name blinking pink in the darkness, shout it.

SPACE CASE

Yes, I’m going to Burning Man

I wasn’t going to write about this here until multiple people, as a response to the news, said, “Can’t wait to read your blog about it!” Well, fine. I’ll blog about it. I can’t think about anything else.

Friends have been asking have I gone or will I go to “the burn” for about 2 years now. Yet, I’ve never been. In 2012 I was offered a ride and a ticket (well, I’d still have to pay) and I said no. I said no to Burning Man. I regretted this such that I said yes to Electric Poncho in Mexico, a treacherous adventure filled with scorpions and heat (and oh my god I have never witnessed so much assault). I’ll probably have to do that one again, just to be sure that I hate it.

Cue 2014, and the usual questions abound;

Hey Sami … are you burning this year?

nooooooooopeeee

:(

unless it fell on my lap on a silver platter

which it did 2 years ago and i said no b/c i’m an idiot

IDIOT!

gonna miss you there!

The thing is, if you invite Burning Man to arrive on a silver platter, it will arrive. My phone rang when I was still in bed, late, on a Sunday, like noonish. Last Sunday. Friend (quoted above) called with a chance to test if I’m an idiot, again. “Hey Sami, I know someone with a ride and a ticket for you at face value. Want to go to Burning Man.”

“Umm,” am I awake yet? “Ye–ess?”

Turns out, this ‘someone’ has a non-split-able will call ticket, and needed to find a trustworthy adventurer to both buy the ticket and ride with him through the gates. So yes, I am hopping in a car with a guy I don’t know to camp in the barren desert of Nevada for the first time, and with only 2 weeks preparation. It sure sounds bad when I put it like that.

The night after “Hmm, maybe I’ll go,” turned into “Yes, obviously I have to go,” I felt like my chest was split open, my ribs pulled apart. My blood was cold and it drenched me from the inside out. I began foreseeing the emotions that I will have out there in the dust. Raw, grateful, alone, together, crying tears of joy and sadness. The ghosts of future feelings have landed in my lungs and are growing, growing to burst.

I am lucky this is so last-minute. I don’t have time to do anything but prepare. So I make a Koozie spaceship.

space rocket beer koozie diy

So I adorn a rabbit fur coat with EL wire.

space case El wire letters fur jacket burning man

So I take on the role of Art Director for this 8-foot tall monolith.

vulnerability booth burning man art

So I make my loved ones write me letters.

letter for burning man

I am crossing my arms over my ribcage. I am holding it all in. I am telling myself, Do Not Open Until )'(

Writing about your friends on the internet

I bite into this apple of creative energy and there’s a worm in it; another project eats away at the time and thought I normally put into my Thursday update. I’m working on a thing that my collaborator and I avoid putting the b-word on like that’s some sort of curse, but yeah, it wants to be a Book.

(We’re basically writing about our sexy times and our sad times, framed as a series of letters between lovers.)

I’ve been somewhat hush about this writing project because I know sharing too much too soon can crush my enthusiasm. Once someone’s read it, it’s lived its purpose and I lose interest. However... The thing is upwards of 50k words by now (raw, disorganized words at times but still words) so I feel a little braver. I can almost see the finish line, and this time instead of tripping over a false sense of confidence, I’m eagerly putting one foot in front of the other to draw the conclusion closer to me.

I’m not just sharing this information as an excuse of a blog post, and I’m really not sharing this to create hype out of my writing project & 50 friends bugging me to finish it already && when can they read it? — though that may be a fun side effect. Truthfully, I just want to say it occurs to me that I’m struggling with the same thing in my writing project as this blog project, and that is, writing about my friends.

I navigate thornier ground with the b-word thing, because I’m writing about friends I’ve seen naked. Wait, who am I kidding? At some of the parties I go to I see y’all naked too. Anyway, at what point am I crossing the line between enumerating the details of my personal experience to exposing too much about people I care about, even if the law of memoirs means truth is fair game?

I think we can all agree that killing a rattlesnake, cleaning, baking, and eating it at dawn* is an occasion worth commemorating. By contrast (though proudly displaying the burn marks to all) the guy who opted to get branded with a potato masher may not want me to publish any of his identifying details. Yeah, you didn’t go to that party, you don’t get to know.

Remember, though, the “list 10 friends” fad back in Myspace days? It probably started with guidelines like:

  1. Say something to the person you wish you could talk to but can’t
  2. Say something to your BFF
  3. Say something to your crush
  4. etc….

I think by the end of the meme’s lifespan, the rules disintegrated/purified to their true motivations: let’s write 10 anonymous things about each other so we can splash around in puddles of narcissism.

It was glorious to recognize myself. Perhaps I’m really fucking arrogant to believe this, but I think it’d be pretty fun to find yourself in this blog, too. Unless, of course, you said something sexist to me. And while sexists are assholes that deserve to be defamed, anyone reading this should realize my perception of reality has its limits.

FOR FUCKING EXAMPLE: I described a guy in a cookie monster onesie in a less-than-flattering context, only to realize later that I know this guy and he was chummy with me for good reasons. My bad. Guys with brown hair all look the same to me. We all have a lot of people to keep track of in this day and age — and for some reason I prioritize learning the faces of lady people…

Anyway, my dear readers, my baby birds I want to feed and feed, what’s going on here? Do you prefer reading about other people? Are you yearning for your own cameo? Are you just glad I manage to update every Thursday, like a goddamn consistent person? Like, you read me the same as you’d watch a dying TV show past its prime but you might as well since it’s still going every week, did you hear they’re making a season 6 why don’t you kill me already…

The truth is, for me, I’m just obsessed with all of you sometimes. I want to know if it’s okay to write about you. Picasso’s girlfriend probably didn’t tell him to hide away the portraits he made of her saying, ‘baby, what? I look so ugly, do you really think my nose is that big? My eyes are that..awkwardly placed in relationship to the rest of my face parts, seriously they aren’t even pointing in the same direction…??’ But I’m not Picasso and these sentences are search-indexable. I owe you your privacy, perhaps.

P.S. If you’ve been waiting for your cameo, here it is: Yes I did write this because at your party you said, “Careful around her, you might end up on the internet.”


*This occurred the night I contracted strep, but I didn’t write about it because I missed most of the rattler feast when I conked out early on a bottle of Jameson. Didn’t feel like my story to tell, which is the rubric I’ve used thus far in choosing what to put to words.