Let it be said: All of Burning Man is a show of wealth. Tickets are $380, sure, but many of the art cars — immensely decorated buses and trucks — cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not to mention the neon furs, the metallic leggings and the lights (there were side-of-the-road hawkers at the gate who tried to sell me a rainbow stole for $80).
Standing near a party bus one night around midnight, Ryan Parks, a young entrepreneur covered in LEDs, explained the situation: “This is the height of excess,” he said, indicating the neon and fire-spewing art cars around us. “We go to the desert, where people die, to build shit we burn. TheMaslow hierarchy of needshas been met by our ancestors — so we can make art cars and websites. It’s wasteful but plants the seeds of possibility of whole new worlds.”
It’s not about tech money, because that’s nothing new. Annie Harrison — an early Burner and former writer for Wired magazine — told me, “I came out here in ’95 to cover the tech scene. It was tech-reporter catnip! Mostly stories about the lasers from Lawrence Livermore. I took a picture of a guy lighting a cigarette off a laser that my editor loved.”
But something new is happening at Burning Man: There’s now a rich neighborhood.
(Also via Ann Friedman’s newsletter; catch her on tumblr here.)
This post brought to you by reading “The Story of Land and Sea”*
I have a new theory about pregnancy anxiety — that fear at the pit of your stomach, somewhere below the kicking babe, that never leaves you. Fear about the birth, fear about the baby’s health, just plain fear.
I think it is, in part, an inherited anxiety, passed down like my almond-shaped eyes from mother, grandmother, great-great-great-grandmother.
My mother died while pregnant, yes, but good god if that wasn’t par for the course not long ago.
As a pregnant woman you stood an, oh, 10% chance, maybe even more, of dying in childbirth. It was the biggest gamble you would ever take with your health. It was Russian roulette. You might make it out alive, or you might not. A breech birth, an umbilical cord around a neck, a tear in the vagina, any number of now routine ”complications” — any of these could cause a hemorrhage and that was it. You’re dead on the delivery table, or more likely, in your bed.
I mean lord. Can you imagine being pregnant 100, 150 years ago? (Or being pregnant now without access to basic medical care?) And knowing your odds? Pregnancy would not have been this wondrous thing, a time for looking ahead, a time for imagining her little face, the life you would lead together, the things you would teach her.
Those feelings would have been there, certainly, but they would be tempered by profound uncertainty. You would, if you were rational and thoughtful, make as many provisions for your death as for your life.
So I think that’s part of what is bubbling up in me. A fear bred deep in the bones, in the genes. A survivor’s fear.
* Which you should read, absolutely — it’s a transportative, addictive tale of death and family and slavery and men and women in Revolutionary times — but if you happen to be a pregnant woman … well, it’s not a spoiler to say they (almost) all die.
… we’ve also been watching “The Knick” and good grief that first episode should come with a warning.
Anonymous said: I've followed your site for awhile, and have recently moved to NYC. Wondering if you have any tips for a (New) New Yorker? Good dentists, doctors, gyms, etc.
Welcome! New York is just the fucking best. I hope you love it here.
I don’t particularly like my dentist but readers/friends told me the NYC dentists they love (and none of them were in my network). Maybe these work for you?
If you’re a lady, I absolutely loved my old gynecologist, Dr. Mulligan, (lots of my friends go to her — a kind of sisterhood of ladyparts), but then she also went out of network. Readers/friends suggested these as replacements. I’m currently going to CityScape, a group practice, and since I’m pregnant I am there a lot. They’re fine; professional; don’t keep you waiting; etc. If you go there, I’d recommend Dr. Rosenberg, Dr. Halpern or perhaps Dr. Warsheki, who is new to the practice.
I haven’t stepped foot in a gym since I discovered Tracy Anderson more than 6 years ago but I do take machine Pilates classes at Sal Anthony Movement Salon, the loveliest Pilates joint in the city. If you go, take one of Sylvia’s classes, which are very Tracy-esque in their challenge-level and creativity. I love her so much.
I absolutely love Tomo the handsome hairstylist, as does everyone I’ve recommended him to. He just switched over to a new salon: Kiyora. I hope he still charges $80 — my sister and I both have appointments tomorrow; I’ll update this post to let you know.
Here’s a random recommendation: it took me years of living in NYC to get up the nerve to try a Chinese massage parlor. While I can’t vouch for them all, for the most part they are clean, non-sketchy, CHEAP, and they hit the spot. I go to Nie’s on East 4th Street for regular massages.
Ai Hin the clever panda apparently faked a pregnancy to receive better digs and more bamboo
Shit they found me out.
Anonymous said: Can you share more of your wisdoms re: insecure boy behavior? They are such a GD mystery! How can you tell an assclown from one with potential? I can burn a bridge faster than an unreturned text message. Thanks for your candor, it's medicine! xo
Candor can be medicine, can’t it? Well I don’t know if this qualifies as wisdom but I do subscribe to the he’s just not that into you philosophy. A guy who’s in it to win it is unmistakable. A guy who’s not is also unmistakable (as you said in your other message — you already know the answer to the question).
M. and I were talking about this last night and he said something he’s said often recently — I always knew we’d get married and start a family. And I knew it, too. (We uh had sex for the first time 10 years to the day after I lost my virginity and this was so significant to me because a. I am a fucking NERD and b. I knew he’d be the last.) However: we put each other through hell. I regret all the time we wasted fighting.
But through it all, I knew he wasn’t an assclown. I wasn’t 100% sure we’d ever get our shit together, but I knew we both wanted to. We always turned back to each other. Without that, it would have ended long ago.
So, either that’s happening for you now or it isn’t. You know what to do.
(And please be sure you really, really like him. That you delight in him, even. That is the most sure sign of potential I know.)
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