Most of us have experienced the “Sunday Scaries”—the anxiety that creeps in at the end of a glorious weekend, as we anticipate returning to work. Imagine the feeling that might overtake you after a solid seven days outside of normal society, in a desert world where commerce and advertising were nonexistent (Instagrams aside), clothes were optional, and radical self-expression and acceptance of others were the law of the land.
That’s what some 70,000 “Burners,” as Burning Man attendees are known, face upon the exodus from Black Rock City, Nevada. Traffic on Sunday night (Sept. 4) forced officials to close the access road, while people spent several hours waiting in their cars. (And you thought beach traffic was bad!)
Traffic isn’t the only barrier to re-entry.
UCLA anthropologist Sarah Megan Heller, who has studied Burning Man, told Quartz the festival brings a rare, important opportunity for adult play that can be hard to recreate outside.
“It can be a painful cycle for some Burners of depression and ecstasy because they haven’t been able to create or connect with others outside of Burning Man,” said Heller.
Eight hours of traffic wouldn’t help. If you’ve got a Burner coming back to your office tomorrow, try to be compassionate.