Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

I think Utah was closed for business

Hello from Las Vegas. I am writing from the 19th floor of the Stratosphere, which has aged about 28 years since I was last here in 2002. At a much too early hour this morning, I loaded up my little Toyota with six giant bags of mostly laundry and two bags of laptops and headed west. The plan is to get to LA tomorrow and bust my ass to find us a nice apartment. Sarah will be arriving on Friday, and we will hopefully sign whatever has to be signed, then leave behind my car (and the junk inside) at a friend of Sarah’s, then fly back to Colorado to finish off everything going on there.

Today’s drive took just about thirteen hours. The Yaris wasn’t bad. It was exceptional on gas mileage; the thousand-odd miles took less than three tanks. I started full, filled up twice, and I am at 3/4. The tiny engine and jumpy automatic transmission were not that great crossing the rockies. No problems, but with the right lane being semis with their blinkers on going about 12 mph, and fucknuts in suburbans and jacked-up hummers in the left lane trying to go like 117, the winding, twisting two-lane roads filled with heavy up-grades and down-grades got a little nerve-wracking. It was beautiful, with the snow and mountains and all that, but it would have been better if I was the only one out on the road.

Then I got to Utah. I knew I was in Utah when I stopped for gas and some chick came up to me and was all too friendly and started asking me where I was headed and where I was from and how I was doing. And that’s when I realized I was in mormon country. And that’s when I remembered that Mitt Romney was a mormon, and his ideal country if he ended up becoming president (and if Bush could win in 2004 with like a -37% approval rating, who knows about this guy) would be everyone getting in everyone’s shit like this constantly. And then I remembered if you spend a half a million dollars on real estate in the Bahamas, you are automatically a citizen. But I was overthinking all of this.

And speaking of having way too much to think about, when did the entire state of Utah close for business? From the time I left CO to the time I reached I-15, I saw about as much commerce as you’d expect to see in Hiroshima in mid-August of 1945. This place made Goshen Indiana look like one of those CGI cities in those Star Wars prequels where there are 17894 levels deep of rocket pods on platforms on cities on floating cities. The only thing there was white snow on either side of me, like twin tanning mirrors, burning out my retinas. I have some prescription sunglasses, and thank the baby jesus for those, or I would be configuring this computer to read me my web pages from now on.

The only thing that kept me relatively sane was the iPod. I loaded up every comedy and spoken word album I could possibly find, and kept going on that. I wish I had more podcasts, because I have no idea how I will continue to drive another five hours tomorrow.

So I am in Vegas, although I do not plan on going out tonight, and I will check out and leave early tomorrow morning, so I can get to LA to make an appointment. It is weird to be here so soon after having just been here, although I was here for such a short time last time, that a week here would not seem so horrible. But Monday nights are always a very beat time to be here, and Monday nights at the Stratosphere are particularly horrible. Yes, I could drive somewhere else, but I’m sitting here in bed and it still feels like I’m in a microcompact car with 12-inch tires going 80 on a badly paved Utah highway, so I don’t think that losing $300 at a blackjack table at Caesar’s is going to do much for me.

It is weird to have my car – the car I actually own, as opposed to a rental – here in Vegas. I think that’s a first for me. It’s also odd to think that this car will not be going back to Colorado. I mean, it was odd enough thinking last night that I would be getting on a plane for Vegas; I kept rethinking my packing strategy, like “can I get this in my carry-on?” before remembering that I would just throw it all in the hatchback and hit the gas. But it’s unusual to think that this car, which since its arrival from the Japanese motherland, had never been more than 25 miles from its home dealership in Aurora. Maybe it will be back, but I’m guessing that if we were ever forced to drive cross-country again, it would be in the Subaru. (And if I was ever forced to drive cross-country, I would hope one of you would take the tiny toy tire iron on top of the spare of my car and beat me in the head until I remembered that flying is almost always a better deal, unless you’re moving a car, or maybe trafficking drugs.)

I think that’s about it. It’s a dump here, but I think it was $39. There is a Coke machine on this floor that has a thing where I can tap my Amex card and it sells me a Coke. And this technology is there because a Coke costs $2.50. But I’d rather pay $2.50 on an Amex for a Coke than spend 47 precious minutes of my life trying to get the fucking thing to read a completely pristine dollar bill. Anyway, I need to go to bed. This probably won’t get posted until tomorrow, since I have no wireless here, but I’ll pretend it’s going out there now, and say something like “next time I see you, I will be in LA.”