So there I was, standing in front of the Mehndi Camp when..

Posted by Ted on Sep 10, 2003 in Activities, Burning Man

It’s Sunday night of Burning Man, and I’m waiting for cthulhia so that we can go to see the burning of the Temple of Honor. I’m juggling some of the glow-in-the-dark balls I had brought, and I catch the eye of this little kid next door. He couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old. I threw him one of the balls, and he caught it and ran inside the tent with it.

I laughed, and looked through the flaps of the tent, and his older brother (8? 10? 12? I’m so bad with guessing ages) comes out and hands the ball back. I take it and start juggling, and then the kids’ eyes light up, “Hey, it’s a Juggler! Come quick!” they yell, and a third kid comes out. All of a sudden, I have a rapt audience of three kids. I don’t consider myself a very good juggler, but these three kids were enthusiastic, interested, and entertained.

That was the best feeling. It was a totally awesome, envigorating, pride-filled feeling. It was one of the best moments of the week.

I owe it in part to dilletante.

I don’t remember when it was I first tried to juggle; I think it was probably at Fandom House, learning from Rich Macchi. Or maybe even an early Baitcon from Phil or Vic. In any event, after feeling like a complete failure, I didn’t try again until a couple of years ago, when I finally “got it”, at least, for fairly small amounts of “got it”.

I kept playing at it off and on, but when I started working at Akamai, I got together once or twice with dilletante, and started to feel like I made some progress. I’d even practice on my own occasionally thereafter. However, I seemed to reach a plateau of ability that didn’t really go any further.

Fast forward to the Saturday of Burning Man, and we meet up in the Cafe during the noonish juggle. I ask him to show me how to pass, and after a bit of a fumbling start, it occasionally works, if just for a jug or two or three. Excellent! And then Sunday day, I’m walking into my camp, and Ashley is juggling the glow-in-the-dark balls, and I ask him if he knows how to pass, exclaiming”I learned yesterday!“. So we get in sync after a few starts, and it works! Wahoo! Excited, Ashley suggests we show our campmates our new trick :)

Two audiences in a day, one captive, and one a surprise. Both left me feeling high on life.

Between that, and watching hundreds of fire performers before the Saturday night burn, I am determined to improve my skills, and be one of those performers in two years. I want to be a part of that energy, and it’s not because of some need for attention, but because I want to be a part of that experience, and to contribute towards it.

Thank you, David. :) If you ever want someone to juggle with, let me know :)


An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

1 Comment

Sep 9, 2003 at 9:57 pm

Aww! Thanks for the anecdote. That’s not only awesome, it makes me feel extra-squishy about !