Wild Wild West
Friday, June 9 (part 2) – Nevada
A couple of hours outside of San Francisco, I make a bunch of phone calls and keep telling everyone, “Nevada, I’m in Nevada!!” in the same incredulous inflection people use when they utter the word “Nebraska,” my home state. Just another example of what pop psychologists call the cycle of abuse. Who do Nevadans deride?
Three hours later, we see a sign that says, “Welcome To Nevada,” marking (obviously) the actual beginning of the state. I’m disappointed and a little embarrassed, but I’m used to being wrong. I just make things up sometimes, convinced of their truth. At Yoshi’s house, I was recounting how Nick was at Candlestick Park during the World Series earthquake. Nick walks in to inform me I’m completely wrong. I had been so sure. . .
More bad food—this time we try Subway and regret it. I am a Subway virgin, and wonder aloud how “Jared” pulled off his diet. Nick tells me this particular Subway is sub-par, even for Subway.
Later, we pull off to get a beverage at a single building in the middle of nowhere, designated as “Gas Station/Mini Mart/Bar/US Post Office.” Suddenly, the driveway pavement gives way to a minefield of foot-deep potholes. But the only vehicles in the lot are mud-splattered monster trucks, so the holes must be an entry initiation. Above the entrance to the “bar” section of the building, a sign warns, “You must be 21 to enter. You must act 21 to stay.” The unmistakable riff of Fortunate Son ushers a stumbling man into the vague delineation between bar and mini mart. He holds a fist aloft and slurs, “I dedicate this fuckin song to every fuckin kid in Nevada!”
This snaps me out of my slow, baffled progression through the store. I scurry for the counter with a canned Starbucks “double shot,” and the clerk tells me how much she loves them. We bond over our shared taste in drinks. The moment is a comfort, as the vibe is pretty dicey in the bar, and the action keeps spilling over to where we are. Shit will definitely be started at some point this evening—maybe every evening–but we’ll be long gone by then.
In the car, Nick wonders aloud if Starbucks ever thought in their wildest dreams that a woman at a roadhouse in desolate Nevada would be endorsing their pre-packaged drinks.
A while down the road we get delirious with giggles, and Nick tells me in all sincerity that he now understands the term “natural high” because he feels really stoned, except that he has a secondary, more sober consciousness that is fully aware he’s laughing at stupid shit, but is nonetheless powerless to stop it. The Doves song “Black and White Town” comes on, and in that stoner way we just go nuts, philosophizing. Nick asserts that it is the sonic embodiment of an Industrial UK town (Nick lived in a “Ned” neighborhood in Glasgow for a while). The high hats are unrelenting for the whole song, like a locomotive crashing through the neighborhood. If you haven’t heard it, you should go listen.
We give up in Wells, NV because the bug guts are so thick that oncoming headlights are turned into pulsing slashes, something straight out of Star Trek. We find a hotel and head towards a café that the desk person recommends. By recommend, I mean she vouches that it would be open. I relay to Nick that it’s called, er, “The Three-Way.”
On the way there, we pass a place called Bella’s Espresso, whose entire building is outlined in pink neon and glowing hearts. That is a whorehouse, I say. But it says espresso, Nick says. Then he looks again and says, Wait, that does look like a whorehouse.
We find the café—which is actually called The Four-Way (dang!) and is not only a café, it’s a Casino/Truck Stop/Café. These Nevadans are such multi-taskers. Inside, the crowd is completely apeshit. Everyone is drunk and spilling out of their booths, calling to other patrons, staggering around the aisles. Yet incongruously, they’re eating eggs and hashbrowns in full fluorescent light. It’s totally bizarre. I had planned to order a beer, but change my mind; it seems best to keep my faculties fully intact.
After dinner, we use some merch money to play the slots. Total losses: $2.
Then we collapse.
Suggested Nevada State Mottos: 1) We’re rowdy! 2) We heart potholes.
Times Nick caught Heather looking at her biceps: 16
[Ed. Note—gross exaggeration!]