Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's a dry heat

Mojave, CA is 90 minutes north of Los Angeles.
But make no mistake, it is a world unto itself.

In the winter, the temperature rarely rises above 40 degrees.
And in the summer, the mercury never stays in the double digits.

These must be the ideal cooking conditions for methamphetamine. Because the town's entire populace seems to be hooked on the stuff.

If you're wondering about Spring and Fall, don't. Those seasons are too nuanced for a place like Mojave, which seems to favor extremes. The roadside Church of Heavenly Grace and Mercy is sandwiched between the Tiger Tail Adult Book Store, now featuring just released hits on VHS, and Mike's Gun Shop, where the only amendment that counts is the Second.

Apparently Mike is not a fan of the government or any nuisance that stands in the way of packing heat. Mike's motto, painted on the window, "Walk in with two arms, walk out with three."

I am inexplicably drawn to Mojave, like a moth to a flame. Its seediness, its remoteness and its general lack of dental hygiene make it feel like a land that time and the California Department of Health and Welfare forgot.

You could safely describe the town as pre-Apocalyptic.

Last week, on our trek to Northern California we made a mandatory pitstop at the Carl's Jr. in Mojave, arguably the cleanest of the "restaurants" along Route 14. I have long abandoned my taste for fast food, but it is the one time of the year I allow myself the indulgence.

Obviously the food is nothing to write home about. The same cannot be said for the diners.

Seated in the next booth was a chatty fellow in his early sixties clothed in camo from head to toe (I'm going to go out on a limb and say Viet Nam Vet). For some reason he seemed to think that my wife, my two daughters and myself were the perfect audience for his half-baked, meth-fueled political ramblings.

Or maybe he reads my blog and had me pegged for someone who is fascinated, I should say amused, by anything involving the Illuminati, Alex Jones, Freemasonry, the New World Order, The Trilateral Commission, Tin Foil, The Bilderberg Group, Mossad Plots, International Banking, and UN-enforced Fascism. He managed to work all those topics into a casual discussion that only lasted 14 minutes, roughly the time it takes to consume a grilled turkey burger and onion rings.

And it all started with an innocent question, "Say, pal, how many colors are there on the United States flag?"

Red, white and blue, I answered confidently, having graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited university.

"That's what it should be. But have you ever seen the US flag that are now sporting a gold fringe?" he replied.

I had seen those and hadn't realized those flags were part of a larger UN conspiracy, a conspiracy my new friend would have been glad to explain well into the late afternoon. That is, until my youngest daughter surreptitiously shot me a look that said in no uncertain terms...

"Dad, let's get out of here, this guy is way sketch."

1 comment:

Ellen November said...

It's those moments that make road trips ever so priceless. Good one.