k8 – …made me want to become a Ranger

Allcom, k8 —

Okay, I’ll bite.

One morning in 2005, as I was watching the sunrise with a boy (it was
not my first time at the Burning Man rodeo), we encountered a
shoeless, shirtless, hairless, wild-eyed and partially-witless
participant. He was standing in the middle of the street between our
camp and the neighbors. When he saw us, he very quietly insisted
that he needed a towel.

When we asked why, he became really agitated and informed us that
there was a sniper in the art car across the street and that he had
been chased to Disorient by police and he’d run all the way here
across the Santa Monica Pier and around a lake and he thought maybe he
lost them but actually he was pretty sure they were still after him
and had he mentioned the sniper in the art car which meant he needed a
towel to wrap around his arm to break out the window and get the
sniper? I looked at the boy, he looked at me, we took three steps back
and conferred — did he feel safe being left alone with this guy while
I went to find a Ranger? A few other Disorienters were waking up, so we
decided it was safe, and I headed off towards Tokyo (and totally missed seeing
the sunrise, for those of you following along at home).

I ran into Bunny, who was heading towards HQ for his first shift of
the event and cutting slits into his Ranger hat to insert this year’s pair of
bunny ears. He agreed to come back to camp with me, called in to HQ
that he was gonna be a little late for his shift, and we headed back.

Now, according to the guy, there were snipers in our bass bins. And in our art car. And, man,
were shirtless guy’s feet uncomfortable. So we washed his feet and I loaned
him some furry slippers and no, you don’t need to bust out any windows
and please stay away from our speakers. Just keep talking to us and
drinking that water.

Bunny, well…Bunny just stood there and did nothing. For like four
hours. Finally, I extricated myself from the sniper-hunter and said
“Hey, I heard you guys have something called Sanctuary. We’re done
with this guy. Please take him there.” And Bunny got on his magic
radio, a golf cart showed up, and shirtless guy, me, and my pink fuzzy
slippers rode to Ranger HQ.

When I left him in Sanctuary, fuzzy slippers in hand, he was mumbling about needing to go to Reno and
something about Xanax and leaving the event for good (he’d been there
a total of 12 hours, we’d learned).

Four days later, this smiling bald guy showed up in Disorient with a hand-made
necklace to gift us and a story about how the Rangers had helped him until his
friend showed up and when he got back to camp to start packing to
leave, some healers had come into his tent to talk to him and they had
performed an exorcism and he was a completely new person. And he’d
come back to thank us for our part of it and did we know how to find
that Ranger with the bunny ears because he wanted to thank him, too.

And I felt really warm and fuzzy. And then I realized that I totally should
have been the one standing there with a radio doing nothing. Because
dude completely stretched out my favorite pink fuzzy slippers.

So the next year I became a Ranger, and ever since, I have only washed my own
feet at Burning Man.