Atomic Bombshell

The Journey

May 27th, 2004

Saturday morning, at some ungodly hour, we will begin the annual trek to New Mexico to pick up three little girls for their summer visit. Those of you familiar with attention deficit disorder will understand why Memorial Day weekend is difficult for me. Driving there and back with one overnight stay – fourteen hours of driving each way – through some of the most barren land you could imagine… in a minivan. Torture.

I was born and raised in Pasadena, California, and live there to this day. My first real venture into another expanse was five years ago when we made that first trip to New Mexico. Now, this is going to sound ignorant to those of you from a proper state, but I had no idea that there was so much NOTHING out there. Thousands of square miles of …nothing… was a shock to me.


To someone who has only lived in the hustle and bustle of Southern California – city next to city, next to city, next to city, and no clear lines between them – the idea of so much open space, towns surrounded by nothing but wilderness and farmland, was an eye opener. I had no idea my metropolis was so unique. I figured Phoenix or El Paso would be something like home, but I was wrong. There’s nothing like Los Angeles.

No wonder real estate is booming in California. Who wouldn’t want to be here? Earthquakes, schmirthquakes… They’re fun! It’s like a free roller-coaster ride. Yes, I’m kidding. But seriously, there’s outrageous opportunity – for a quality education, for good jobs, for a bright future. Not only that, but it’s BEAUTIFUL! Our beaches are gorgeous, our mountains too, even the desert. We’ve got it all, and just an hour from the city.

We’ve even got small towns. There’s a place near the Arizona border called Blythe. I’ve decided you can’t just call it Blythe, you have to tack on “that God-forsaken town” because it’s not descriptive enough otherwise. It’s your last chance for gasoline, so you have to stop there. I’ll never forget the first time I passed through. One hundred and ten degrees at ten o’clock at night. It’s like a rest stop on the highway to hell.

Why on earth would anyone choose to live there? Who goes there and decides, “This is where I belong.” Were they thinking hell is just too far away and they need a taste right now? It’s quite un-American to knock small town life, but some of the places I’ve seen make me wish I owned a distillery. There’s not a whole lot to do but hang out and get trashed.

But you know what? I have a hunch these small town folk are happier than we are. There’s something to be said for a simpler life. I want to learn to appreciate leisure. I’d like to slow the fuck down. Maybe I’m only built for high gear, but I’d like to find out for sure. I guess we’ll see where The Journey takes me.

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