Level up

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

Late August is always a sentimental time—the summer drawing to a close. Time for the last roadtrips, the last drives up to the lake, the last ice cream cones, whatever. It’s the late afternoon of the year, gearing up for the long dusk of autumn.

It’s also a transitional time. Growing up, it’s always the time when you’d level up by starting a new grade. You’d show up, take a look around the classroom, taking stock of how the familiar faces had changed, noting the new faces with a furtive jolt of excitement.

For me, the first day of school was always a little nerve-wracking because I was afraid I’d get a bloody nose, something that happened randomly three years in a row. Not because I got punched or anything. Just because my nose started bleeding. Allergies or something. I know what you’re thinking: What. A. Nerd.

Of course, around here, this time of year also means Burning Man. Which also feels like a transition. You come back from Burning Man with your consciousness all elevated, your eyes opened to some new possibilities.

Recently, a friend of mine said to me, “I don’t want to talk to anybody who’s just been to Burning Man. I’ve been to Burning Man, and I had a great time. But I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to have a conversation with anyone who just returned from Burning Man.”

It reminded me of when I worked in a bookstore and, just after Labor Day, a guy came in who was obviously fresh from the playa. He was wearing a ridiculous hat and a leather vest with, like, a clock sewn into it, and he was wide-eyed and agitated, and he came straight up to the information desk and asked, “I need to see all your books about lasers.”

So, good luck, everyone, this fall with all your studies and other endeavors—whatever they may be.