(Sorry, totally left you in the lurch there yesterday, but I kinda had to! Life first, blog second! Or some other heartfelt quote like that.)
So Connor and I had had to take a break from setting up and I was not happy or comfortable with staying in our location and as I was standing there talking it out with Connor and putting some decorative touches on my bike, Max showed up.
I recognized him right away and felt this instant combination of shy, happy, relieved, calm and nervous stomach butterfly type energy all at once. He pulled his bike into our camping area and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, even though I did feel shy to meet him for reals.
He was even better looking in person... which, that probably doesn't sound nice, but he was good looking in his photos, but as I've always said, people, to me, don't look like their photos, no matter how many different shots I see and both Jay and Jason were not what I'd expected when I met them. Max? Was really super extra cute. But not in a "awww so adorable!" kind of way but in a "oh my.... giggle..." kind of way. And as nervous as I was, I was also so happy and relieved that he'd found us.
I think I forgot for a moment that I'd texted him our location and I certainly hadn't expected him to have his phone on (he told me later that he'd just had this feeling he should check his phone and did... and got my text and took off right away to find me. Awwwww) and so him showing up was a surprise, but really good.
But, yes, I was really happy he was there because it meant that my stress over finding him or him finding me was over. Done. Found. And I somehow knew right away that I didn't dislike him. Or, whatever else it was I was worried about..... "Hey, I know you" is I think what my brain came up with to say and then I just kind of kept... putting stuff on my bike because, well, I didn't know what else to do (that's when the shy kicks in... I'm just...gonna...stand here and... tie flowers on my bike because.... I ... uh...)
I don't remember the exact details of it all but I think I said hey Connor, this is Max, Max, this is Connor or maybe we hugged first or maybe after I introduced them but I felt shy and nervous but also totally at ease and comfortable. It was... cool.
According to Connor we "just held on to each other" and this pretty much goes along with how I remember things going... I didn't want to stop holding him and more importantly, I didn't want him to stop holding me. He felt good. Nice. Comfortable. Familiar. Right. Even though I was feeling shy and like I didn't know what to do, I felt really safe and good leaning up against him so I just kept doing that.
Then I'd be overtaken by shyness and feeling like we should get our shade shelter situation sorted (heh... alliteration... heh) and so I'd pull away and start to sort of do something but then would just gravitate back to Max and we'd hug again and just...be.
I'm pretty sure I lost most of the coherent thoughts I had but I did have the thought of needing to set up camp and so we started to set up camp and Max pitched in and I didn't know what to do with myself. I was... not... needed! Max was helping. Set up camp! My camp! Just... like that. My neighbour told me to come sit with her and "let the boys do all the work" but I couldn't so I helped where I could and organized other things when my help wasn't directly needed but man was it weird to not be setting up my own gear... tent... shade. Such an odd feeling to have that help, unasked for. Burner style, sure, but still. It was positively wonderful and utterly discombobulating.
Which is pretty much how the rest of my Sunday went!
Once our shade was up and my tent was set and I'd thrown my bins into said tent, Max asked me to come for a bike ride with him, and to meet his friends and his camp.
I.... didn't want to.
I think if you'd asked me at the time how I was feeling I would have said "I don't know" but in retrospect I can see that I was overwhelmed.
The "not knowing where to camp" issue had really thrown me and then meeting Max, as great as it was, was still a lot to take in, and a mental adjustment I kind of wasn't able to make that quickly.
So we kept setting up and then Max asked again and I sort of said to myself, self? You're at Burning Man. This really cool guy is here and wants to hang out with you. Just go. Ok? So I "caved" and said sure, and me, little Miss plan it all out and never leave camp without my backpack and water just hopped on my bike and left with Max. I was so distracted by Max that I left camp totally empty handed and with nothing organized. So.... not me! (In a good way though.)
Max and I went for a ride out into playa and I still felt shy and didn't have much to say or know what to say or how to feel and it was getting near dusk by this point and I had left without my glasses and his bike had no lights (he'd borrowed a camp mate's bike) and so we headed back in, stopping to say hi to his friend and a camp mate or two and then we went back to my camp to get Connor (and my glasses) and Connor... was less than sober (yay Connor!) He'd organized his stuff and then the neighbours had had him over for a couple of beers and he was happily buzzed. I felt antsy about things not being set up (my sleeping stuff wasn't even ready to go) and Max and Connor kind of figured I needed some time to sort my stuff out so Max headed back to his camp (which was not too far from where we ended up) and I set up my bed and that was about it as I felt completely out of it.
It wasn't just the usual heat/elevation/tired from travels, this was Max-brain. I was utterly distracted by him and... again, discombobulated is the word... that I barely was doing all the things I always do... feel like I NEED to do in order to be and feel set up.
I hustled, wanting to get back to Max before he could find some adventure for the night and Connor and I took off to Max's camp, leaving, yet again, with nothing more than lights for the evening. (What was coming over me????)
Connor and I wandered over to Max's camp, found Max, and went into the camper he was staying at (with the friend I'd met earlier.) I, at this point, am now a little more comfortable, but (again... in retrospect...) had not hydrated since we'd started setting up camp hours ago.
Nor had I eaten.
Didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but a day or so later (time starts to melt now...) my body let me know it was NOT happy with this situation.
Connor had a few more drinks and then an awesome playa random moment happened when a gal who was camping with Max's camp came by to say hi to Max and his friend and totally recognized Connor! And Connor recognized her too!
They'd met on an art car back in 2013 and talked for ages about biology and sea life and I was so happy they'd found each other as I remember Connor telling me about the awesome chick he met that night in 2013. Cool. (Plus I was secretly hoping they'd like each other and smooch. I mean, come on... they both remembered and recognized each other!)
I don't remember how it all played out, but I ended up staying the night with Max. (Blush)
I won't kiss and tell, except to say that getting into bed with someone for the first time (even if just to cuddle) when you haven't showered but have been working and sweating and are covered in who knows what and playa dust and grime? Does not feel attractive. So I sat on the edge of his sleeping area for a while feeling utterly shy again, even though I'd settled into feeling very comfortable with him as we all sat around and chatted in the evening.
Max, you see, is incredibly nice. And friendly. And personable. And well-liked. And his camp mates were very welcoming and friendly and I just felt comfortable.
I'd felt safe and accepted into his camper by both Max and his friend and Max and I had either sat next to each other cuddling, or been happily smiling at each other all night and I think we were both looking forward to some time to ourselves, and some cuddles.
So while the day had started off poorly, and gotten increasingly stressful and unhappy, meeting Max.... having Max find us, and finally getting to feel how wonderful it felt to hug him and be held by him made everything else fade away into the distance.
I honestly don't remember ever feeling so instantly comfortable with someone and like it just felt right. And, yes, once I got over the shyness, there were other feelings there too, but I would have been happy if we had only ever just cuddled and been near each other. And I felt lucky that we would be able to spend this time, in this wonderful place, getting to know each other.