Following a wretched dust storm (that was actually only the beginning – eye of the storm, perhaps?), walking home from an open conference on technology and the future in a canvas tent, a table of drunk, rowdy millenials sat behind a table boasting a cardboard sign crudely etched “COCONUT + RUM + POLAROID”. Common sense and decency dictate you must stop and inquire.
As slowly and ritualistically as possible, they hacked the top off a coconut (two, actually, but the first shattered and they apologized, taking more care with the second) and handed us to sip it. After we tasted the cool, slimy freshness, they topped it off with rum and inserted a straw.
“Now be careful with this,” they cautioned, raising the camera. “If the sun hits it, the colour will burn out. Put it in your pocket RIGHT AWAY and keep it somewhere safe.” Nowhere is safe, I reflected, the recent dust storm in mind. But I grabbed my fella, smiled for the camera, and folded the promised Polaroid into my skirt before even looking at it.
Hours later, it would be transferred into my purse and sealed into a plastic bag, a perfect memory of a sun-drenched serendipitous encounter that is all that Burning Man is comprised of.