Wednesday, March 19, 2008


It’s Nev-aaa-da. Not Nev-ah-da. And I never aimed at livin’ here. But I do. And I enjoy the benefits of not having to pay state income tax. (Whenever I find myself walking through a casino—a rare trek indeed—I cheer on the gamblers: That’s right, toss another quarter in that machine. You’re paying my state income tax, and I love you!) I also really like the Chocolate Nugget, a candy store situated on the drive from Reno to Carson City, our state’s nearly-vacant capital. And the lack of humidity. That’s terrific too.

However, there’s something about Nev-aaa-da that’s bothersome: it’s ugly. It’s a state entirely made of falling-apart teeny towns and sagebrush. (As a side note: my friend, Ashley, commented that when she hears “Reno” her mental picture is a sagebrush tumbling through a sad little town—in the sagebrush she was right, in the small town appearance, her vision more accurately describes 90% of the other towns in Nev-aaa-da.)

Yet as my job/lifestyle includes one heck of a lot of road-tripping through the unsightliness that is the Silver State, I try to make the best of it. So rather than calling these miserable tiny towns miserable, I seek out other adjectives to describe these pit stop places—like quirky, unique, historically appealing, peculiar—and do my best to supplant “miserable” for these alternatives. In essence, I’m playing the Glad Game with Nev-aaa-da.

Nevertheless, I’d be less of myself if I didn’t share with you a few photos of the great state of Nev-aaa-da and mock them.

Battle Mountain. My cousin, Chad, has oft referred to this splotch on the map as “the armpit of Nev-aaa-da.” In sentiment, he’s dead on, but I’d like to alter his description to aim at a different bit of anatomy. Look at this:

It’s a big mound labeled “BM.” Bowel movement. These particular Nev-aaa-dans saw that one of their proud hills could resemble a pile of dog doo, and because they are smarter than everyone else and figured they’d better edu-ma-cate us all, they labeled it. BM. Bowel Movement.

Lovelock. (Or as Whitney remembers it from our childhood: Lady Lovelylocks.) Cruising through this town looking for the one doctor’s office they have, I zipped past this:

Oh boy did I flip around for another look. Here’s a gas station. And in front of it: a cross section of a tree. I’ll bet there’s a plaque somewhere at the base explaining what in the world a giant bit of tree is doing in essentially tree-less Nevada (okay, that’s not fair, there are trees surrounding Lake Tahoe, and part of that lake belongs to us—Keep Tahoe Blue).

I didn’t search for such a plaque though, for I was on the phone with Whitney, standing outside my car snapping a couple memories, and late in seeing the docs I was to call on—all while the entire town of Lovelock looked on. One only wants to stand out so much, and I think that inspecting their tree trunk further may have alerted the local color that I was an outsider. Because, of course, prior to that, they’d have had no idea.

Delle. Oh, all right. Delle isn’t ours, it belongs to Utah, but it’s on my drive from Elk Ridge to Sparks and quite near the state line, so I’ll display its special display here.

How nifty is it that some artistic (or high) character saw that the mountain resembled a face and gave it eyes? Clever. And the way that I took the photo, with the sign in the foreground, it looks like that rock is named Delle. So that’s what I’m going to call it: Delle. Tooele County should be proud.

Back to Battle Mountain.

Is it a water tower? An immense simulacrum of a Q-tip? I’m not exactly sure, but it’s the beacon that, while driving across Nevada on I-80, says—hey look, you’re almost to Battle Mountain. Those Battle Mountaineers must be awfully proud of their hometown.

Disclaimer: Now, don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly content to be a Nev-aaa-dan, and have no intention of becoming some other state’s proud resident. It’s just that, c’mon people, I’d be blind if I didn’t notice this western state’s intermittent hideousness.


C. Jane Kendrick said...

I think one has to appreciate the desert to live in the desert. It's only for certain types of people. I am one of those people. Sign me up. BM and all.

(Forgive me, I should've posted this on your last post but then I wondered if you check past posts for comments, and what if you missed my second comment? But I need to tell you that your last post made me go back and listen to one of my favorite songs, and the spirit (of what I don't know) told me to come back and give you the youtube link because it might be a friendly thing for me to do in a way of appreciation. (Deep Breath)Anyway, it is called I Don't Believe You by the Magnetic Fields and you'll know how it's related to your punctuation post if you wait until the last verse. (Nother Deep Breath.) And so, without much further ado, here it is.)

Thank you and good night.

C. Jane Kendrick said...

P.S. The song is good. The video, strange. I think an M.I.T student might have been the creator. Heads up.

Señora H-B said...

Incidentally, at some point in the last 15 years, USA Today actually named Battle Mountain the Armpit of America. Not just Nev-aaaa-da.

Ah, northern Nevada. Though I am a proud native, there are many parts that embarrass me.

Megan said...

A native you say, Mme Hass-Bark? Where from?

Señora H-B said...

I grew up outside of Ely, Nevada. I did a two-year stint in Sparks when I was a wee lass, but haven't been back since high school. Good times, good times.