I let him know it's as easy as walking up to the bar, smiling, and waiting for someone to offer you something, which they certainly will. So he did. Great!
John started talking to me about what he'd been doing before arriving on the playa. He'd been involved in this program called Honor Flight that flies aging veterans of US wars to Washington D.C. to see the monuments that were built to honor their sacrifices. He spoke about it with great reverence, and talked about he spent 3 straight days as the host of an elderly (obviously) WW2 vet and what a moving experience it was.
He talked to me about the impressively long line of Harley riders that escorted their group at one point. The conversation evolved and he told me, with excitement, about the guns he got to recently shoot. He told me about how he's from Chicago and is a red meat and potatoes kind of guy. At this point I was thinking, "Huh, doesn't fit the profile of most of the birgins I meet these days. Hope he's going to be ok with all the strange new things out here as it doesn't seem like his scene."
Then he made me feel terrible for judging a book by its cover. John started telling me how he came to Burning Man to try new things, and how in the past 18 hours (his first hours on the playa) he'd gone to his first yoga class ever. How he'd gone to his first tantra class ever. How he had decided to be 100% vegan for the week. How he'd just come from one of the communal washing camps, where he'd washed and been washed.
I was blown away. This guy, right here, was #doingitright. Hell, he was doing it better than most experienced Burners I know and I started wondering, "What have I done to push my boundaries this Burn? Not as much as John has....."
It's not about the specific activities he did - it's that they were clearly not within the normal purview of his life, but he was completely open to them. That is a man who knows how to Just Say Yes.
John, if you're reading this, I want you to know that you're the most impressive birgin I've ever met and that you're an inspiration. I hope you had an amazing week and I hope we run into each other next year. Pretty sure you'll be back.
And in a neat coincidence, the first thing I saw when I turned on the tv in my hotel room in Reno post-Burn was....a long special report on the northern Nevada Honor Flight program that John was part of. Got me all teary watching these elderly vets who had given so much seeing the monuments for the first time.
I'm Dr. Yes, Professor of Affirmatology. Just say yes, folks!