Like previous years, while at Burning Man this year, I volunteered at Media Mecca, where the press check-in to sign paperwork outlining their responsibilities, get their cameras tagged, and socialize. Each year that I volunteer, I learn a new routine, new policies, and make new acquaintances. I find these changes refreshing and reinvigorating – the ability to forget old routines or rules that no longer apply and learn new ones tailored to current circumstances is easier to do at the Burning Man event since it only meets once a year. In other words, the temptation to ritualistically follow outdated routines is diminished for a yearly event, as people don’t practice these routines everyday.
Moreover, chance meetings with people often lead to wonderful discoveries. For example, while volunteering at Media Mecca, I finally met Sunny Minedew, the filmmaker whose documentary I referenced on p. 139 in the paperback version of Enabling Creative Chaos. In addition, I got the chance to chat with Bill Talen, the performance artist more popularly known as Reverend Billy. I was especially tickled to meet Rev. Billy, as I’ve used Starbucks’ memo about how their employees should act when visited by Rev. Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping as an exam question about routinization for my sociology of organizations class. Rev. Billy was gracious enough to gift me with his documentary and music. I look forward to finding out what happens when Rev. Billy and his group descend upon the Disney amusement park.