I got a set of earplugs a few years back, when I was heading off to Burning Man.

I saw on them on ebay for, I dunno, maybe 30 bucks. I’m thinking ok, I’ll be there ten nights, I want really good earplugs, since people running around with airhorns at 7am is a relatively common occurrence. 3 bucks a night for decent sleep? So worth it. So, I bought ’em.

And a pack of 40 sets turned up.

Uhh, well, ok then.

So, this meant I had a ton to give away at Burning Man (gifting is a huge thing there), so that worked out pretty well.

Anyway, these are industrial earplugs. They have 3 baffles on them. You reach over your head with your opposite hand & pull the top of your ear up to straighten the ear canal, then push them super deep so as many baffles as possible as in action., like this:

& here’s a pdf of full instructions, you know, just in case you’ve ever been curious about how to put ear plugs in.

So, you see, these are serious ear plugs, not your nickel & dime jobbies. It does take a bit of getting used to, shoving them that deep inside your ear – but that’s where the ear straightening comes in. If you don’t get all three baffles into your ear canal, then they’re average-ok (like foam earplugs, for example), but not super-great.

Ok, so that’s all well & good. I learned how to put ear plugs in properly, la la la.

Last year, I went to a thing called Con Fest (a hippie festival, stands for conference-festival. worst naming ever), here in Australia. Took my earplugs, and an eye mask. Found a great little spot in the forest. Super convenient, isolated & wonderful.

Then four cars drove up, & these farm hands up from up north came and camped, literally, on top of me. I was surrounded on all sides, with my tent right in the middle of their dining area. So much for getting away from civilization.

Ok, fast forward a few days. I do my usual going to bed routine. Crawl into my sleeping bag (my “beeping slag,” hehe), listen to some David Bowie, then put on my eye mask, insert earplugs & drift off.

The next morning I get up around 10, get out of my tent, stretch & go about my business. Weird thing – everyone is saying things like “Oh man, we feel really sorry for you” and “Oh wow, how are you feeling?” to which I’m responding “Why?” and “Awesome, why?”

Turns out one of the guys in the camp-around-me, who’d been dropping acid every four hours around the clock for four days, had been screaming at the top of his lungs. All night. Every single campsite for two blocks in every direction had been shouting at him to shut up.. & he’d been shouting back. & flashing his torches all over my tent etc etc.Everyone else in the area hadn’t slept a wink & were utterly wrecked.

I hadn’t noticed a thing and slept like a baby. Through it all.

I like my earplugs.