fear, loathing.

Spending a little time away from America, the way I tend to do, you forget how central an emotion/concept abject fear is to daily American life. Not that there isn't anything to be afraid of: in the last two weeks there have been 11 vehicle shootings on I-10, the highway that you pretty much take to get anywhere from my parents' house. My sister's 10-year-olds are terrified of the local news: Dylan has been unable to sleep and nervous to the point of vomiting since he saw a story about a home invasion like this one last week.

I'm too tired and old and cynical to do any real thinking or writing about why this is and what it means that this is the only "civilized" country on Earth that operates this way. Then what the fuck am I talking about you may ask, and yes yes I'm getting to it now: I'm printing out driving directions for Vulture Bait 2015, and the very first stop after the completely civilized and unscary city of Las Vegas is Death Valley.

OK. The name is already a tad on the scary side. Then you go to the Death Valley National Park website, and it's almost like there's a vibe of, "Yes, you're totally welcome to come, we'd love to see you, really....but there's a really good chance you might not make it. Obviously, it's the desert, and if anything happens to your car, you're probably going to die. Should you somehow survive the inevitable one-car crash, uhmmmmm do not leave your vehicle. As boring and hopeless as this sounds, stay put. Even if you were to survive the 140F heat for more than a few hours, if you don't stay with your potentially white-hot piece of useless metal and melting plastic, you will most likely wander into a marijuana cultivation site and be killed by the proprietors, or fall into an abandoned mine shaft and be lost forever, or you may be forced to seek shelter in a mouse toilet and contract hantavirus. Etc."

I'm sure some of this is to avoid lawsuits ("Ummmm, we kind of told you you would die?....it says "Death" right there in the name....not our problem). But commmme onnnnnn......I'm trying to have a light and fun vacation here.

All kidding aside: the weather is not too much hotter than Phoenix at the moment. And I'm surviving just fiiiiiine here.



Klary said...

I read all that stuff about DV when we went there. And was pretty scared to go. When we got there, it rained.
Oh: take a picture of Lone Pine for me. That's the town that made me fall in love with America.

MEM said...

I had no idea that Lone Pine was so significant! Anything particular I should do there that will make me fall in love with America?