dimanche, octobre 23, 2005

do not stop for hitchhikers

I spent the last 36 hours with my cousin Andrea on a roadtrip to visit Nanny in lovely Sun City, AZ. I'm not a blood relative to either woman, but we've all been family for about 16 years now, so I'm not going to let a technicality like a divorce get in the way.

The drive out there was fun and filled with good tunes ranging from ABBA to Weezer. Andrea and I alternated as drivers/ DJs and did our best to introduce one other to new music. It was a six-hour rock, folk, rap, ska, punk, and country singalong each way. We also took pictures at several roadside oddities.

We saw the most gorgeous Arizona sunset as Yuma faded in the rearview mirror and the mountains at Gila Bend were purplish and hazy with atmospheric distortion. An hour later, something huge and orange was on the horizon to our left. It was the moon, looking as though it was on fire, a glowing warm amber mass rising slowly in the sky in front of us.

The roads between San Diego and Sun City are chock full of interesting signs. Over the years, I've passed Felicity, CA (population zero, elevation 280) and wondered why no one lives in that happy place. Then there's the neon-lit UFO-themed 'Space Age Lodge' in Gila Bend, AZ. It's almost the last thing one sees before setting out on deserted old highway 85. (Eric and I always called it 'the X-Files road,' feeling certain that if aliens exist, they would choose that desolate road from which to abduct us because there would be no witnesses.) Old Highway 85 also has a state correctional facility on it, complete with signs admonishing drivers not to stop for hitchhikers. Finally, there's a town called Surprise, which has another prison and a 'world-famous zoo.' Somehow, I don't think I'll be stopping to see the inmates at either facility anytime soon.

Andrea, what did Nanny say about you playing with snakes?

Blinded by the light, I don't notice the smiling brontosaurus' fangs — a tell-tale sign that he's no herbivore — until it's too late.

I read the sign and decide against picking up the hitchhiker, in spite of how sexy her leg looks.

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