Slab City Anniversary
Hugs all around, hugs all around! The gang usually doesn’t see each other for a semester or so before embarking on our reoccuring holiday misadventures so you can always expect to open your front door to joyous embraces and overflowing love. Neems hops back into the driver’s seat as quickly as he wrapped you in a good squeeze. As I expect, the familiar “don’t touch the window it’s broken and you’re gonna break it more” meets my ears like a time old parable. It’s good to see Lauren again, and shit, it looks like this will be our first real aimless journey into the Californian badlands together! Boom, we hit the Starbucks, get the new sippy cups for the first time, and illustrate a plan. Bottletree? Nah done that too many times. Malibu dam? We need a bigger team for that white whale. Slab City? Oh sheesh!
Boom, from Starbucks we hit the 7/11 around the block to distribute in sacred ritual the venmo gas monies and load up on sustenance - takis, gatorade, that sort of shit. For the next three hours we cruise past the Salton Sea in search of abandoned gas stations, desolate neighborhoods, empty oil tankers, and other apocalyptic landscapes. Our AC deceives us as we step out of the Prius into scorching heat and humidity. Paint melts off of sign poles and our shirts stick to our bodies like honey. We push forth. From abandoned rest stops to East Jesus, the renowned painted hills somewhere in the Sonoran Desert. We clamber up the colorful stones to get a full view of the Mad Max bullshit we walked ourselves into. We push forth. We do our rounds in Slab City, quizzically considering shotgun shells and ammo casings that litter the floor around the jettisoned art the town is famous for. For the purpose of culture I don a ski suit and bound across the dusty roads like a spaceman. We go forth and we go home, stopping only to cross a quarter mile of dried fish skeletons to reach the coastline of the Salton Sea. Nothing that enters ever returns.
The humidity has changed the color of our shirts and we feel like urchins as we squeeze back into the car. Salt crystals and dirt cake my brow and ankles. A necessary respite at In n Out allows us to cling to sanity before rumbling back, 3 hours later amidst the darkness, into our home, Irvine. •