Friday, 20 September 2013

Wednesday, The 28th?

Witnessing by foundimagination
Not sure what all I did that next morning, but logic tells me that I biked to where Jay was volunteering.  (I just didn't write it down in my journal, but I know that's what I did and this is the morning that makes sense for me to have done it.)

It was a fair bike ride from our place, but it was also good to be out and about.  The breeze as I biked was nice.

By the way, people often ask if you really need a bike to get around.  Well, technically no, but the place is huge.  You're best to have a bike to get around.  (Although you do sometimes miss things because you're going at biking speed rather than walking speed.)

I got to where he was and asked if anyone could help me find him.  People tried but they weren't sure who he was or where he'd said he'd be and so I hung out there for a bit, biked around looking for his car for a bit, and was just about to give up when I walked around to the last side of the building and he was there.

I felt shy.  He seemed so happy.  So in his element.  And he looked great.  Like a gypsy roaming pirate.  One that I was very attracted to.

And he came over and gave me a hug and I told him that I wasn't feeling so good in the heat and that I was heading back to my camp.  I was maybe a little unsure about how I felt seeing him, but he seemed terribly handsome to me.  But I also just wanted to get home where I knew there was shade, and shelter and where I'd see how I coped with the heat.

My body was still revving high.  Still red in the face overheated.  I knew I had to be careful of my health, but the theme of the day was still "too hot."

I'd gone into my tent around four or five the night before and managed to sleep until around six, when the tent started to get warm again in the sun.

Back at camp, after seeing Jay, I sat in my chair, trying to cool off.  To no avail.  I was too hot.  I can't explain this enough.  I'm not even close to exaggerating.  I've never felt anything like this before.  Too hot, and nothing was seeming to help.

At one point, I turned to Connor and told him, quite honestly, that I felt I wasn't going to make it.

He promised me that my body would adjust in a couple of days, but I didn't believe him.  "What if it doesn't?  What if my body just can't handle it?"

I seem to remember having a heat-induced massive cry the day before, but like I say, the days all blur together a bit.

I know I was drinking a lot of water, and gatorade, and electrolyte enriched water, and at some point I changed into my bikini and that helped.

My co-worker friend stopped by in his art car to ask if I wanted to join him and his family.  They were going to center camp to try to beat the heat.  I asked them if it was cool there.  They hesitated. 
"Not... cool.. exactly, but distracting?"

I didn't feel like I could risk it, so I stayed put.  (In retrospect, I maybe should have gone with them.  But, these are the things you learn your first time at Burning Man, right?)

At some point.  Four?  Five?  Six?  I went with Natalie and Connor to get ice.  It was hot, but passed what I figured was the hottest part of the day and I thought ice would help, so off we went.  Me in my bikini and tutu.

I shouldn't have gone. 

I carried back three heavy blocks of ice a long way on foot and by the time I got back I was completely overheated.  Like bad.  Really bad.

I started crying.

Crying because I was too hot.

And that cry (which was coming from a very deep down, genuine place) turned into it being me sobbing because I knew that Jay, most likely, would not have stopped the fun I was imagining him having to come take care of me.  (Honestly, I know I wrote this in my journal as being Wednesday's cry, but I feel like the Jay cry may have been Tuesday's)  But I wanted him there.  Wanted a comforting person, someone who was mine, not strangers.  And I had a really hard time accepting that Connor was ok sitting there making sure I was ok.

I felt like he'd already taken too much time Tuesday to help me through my heat issues and my heat cry and now here he was stuck doing it again.  Between he and Natalie, they didn't leave my side all through the worst.

"You've been independent for a long time, haven't you?"  Connor said, when I sobbed to him that he didn't need to waste his time helping me.  Which just made me cry more.

It was (another) big cry.  I was overly hot.  I couldn't bring my body temperature back down.

Connor would bring me a special cloth I'd brought, soaked in ice water and it'd be hot in minutes.  A cold cloth from the cooler, put on my forehead was hot and dry in a minute or two.

What started to work was crushed ice.  In bags.  On me.  And in my water. 

Me sitting there, crying and hugging big bags of ice is all that worked.

It started to bring my temperature down.  And I was all cried out too.

I couldn't remember eating, particularly, and Natalie suggested that all my drinks have electrolytes in them, not just every second one.

I told Connor that I couldn't do another day like this.  That if tomorrow was like yesterday and today?  I was honestly going to have to go home.  My body was not coping with the heat.  It was not adjusting and it was not self-cooling. 

I feel like one of the things that saved me was watching the super hunky guys working on their magnificent art car.

I went up to one of them, the guy I'd spoken to our first morning, and who I think is still the dishiest person I saw at Burning Man, and told him, through my massive sobs, that this was my first burn.  That I was having a really hard time with the heat, and that watching him and his crew work was the perfect distraction and had gotten me through the last couple of days.

He was sweet.  Gave me a hug (which I wasn't too far gone not to appreciate) and told me that there were things I could do to help with the heat.  Did I want to go in their hammock?

I declined, told him I was hugging ice in my chair, but I felt it was important that I told him thank you.

I often feel that way in life.  That I wish I could thank people for how they impacted me positively that they maybe didn't even know about.  And Burning Man was not the place to hold back.

I was, honestly, seriously considering going home.  I knew something had to change.  I could not spend another day like this.  I had to get my body temperature down.

I talked with Natalie, and then with Connor about possible things I could do.  Could I volunteer somewhere that had air conditioning?  Maybe the medical tents would?  But if not, if it was just this again the next day, I was absolutely going to have to get a ride into Reno and catch a plane home.

This was not ok.

I seem to remember Jay stopping by at some point during the hottest part of the day.  He wanted me to come out with him.

I was flabbergasted.  How was anyone managing to be out there?  In the sun?  The heat?

I told him I didn't know how people were functioning.

He said he was hot too, did I want to come?

I told him again.  I didn't know how people were functioning.

He sat with us for a while, sat on my chair with me before I had to ask him to move because it was too much heat him being there.

You guys, I can't explain how bad it was.

It was the complete loss of control of my body's heat and knowing that it wasn't able to right itself and I didn't know what to do.

It was overwhelming and scary.


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