Monday, June 14, 2010

The Rotten Oasis

Somewhere between Point A and Los Angeles, Jill and I ended up at a roadside rest stop where the soda was warm, the gas was unreasonably expensive and a sign next to the cash register politely asked that customers not complain about the aforementioned fuel price.

At one point in its history, this spot — right off Interstate 40? Interstate 15? I can’t remember where exactly… — had been groomed to be some kind of artificial oasis for thirsty motorists and their thirsty automobiles. It is no longer, but I liked it all even more for its fountains being dry, its cement being cracked and its plants either dead or overgrown, depending on how well they thrive in hot, dry, windblown conditions. It is no oasis. It is no place anyone would ever want to be, much less one that travelers would be happy to arrive at if they needed to refuel.

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Here’s to the smell of baking asphalt and the sound of cars blowing by at ninety miles an hour.

And no, we didn’t end up getting gas here.

1 comment:

  1. Well, as Shelley put it:

    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away."