Once upon a time, we embarked on a journey. It was to a faraway land called California, and we were headed there for my brother’s nuptials. Our journey started with great promise, but it didn’t take long for the crap to hit the fan.
About two hours into our drive, the car suddenly started shaking and flashing the check engine light, filling every heart it held with dreams of abandonment in the Nevada desert and possibly death by engine incineration.
And that little hiccup, my friends, is what brought us to the charming town of Wells, Nevada. Our first and only stop was at The Otto Clinic. (Please notice the clever pun in its name.)
As we waited for them to fix our car, my mom was slowly giving up on life. We were on our way to my brother’s wedding, and this scenario was not exactly what she had envisioned.
Since we’d lost the little pride we had, she no longer saw any reason not to pull out the laundry basket full of sandwich vittles and start a picnic on the side of the road.
I have a picture of this that could probably win an award, but alas mother forbids me from showing it to the public.
But to put it lightly, we were a spectacle. A bustling caravan of suburban folk floundering for nourishment. We drowned our desperation with croissant sandwiches, kettle chips, and celery sticks.
Meanwhile my dad periodically wandered over to the car and gazed under the hood, croissant in hand, as if the car might decide to get up and get on with it now that we had lunch.
As life goes, eventually we had to pee. The cleanest and closest option was The Soap Box, a laundromat across the street that had the most curious signage and artistry.
I must confess that we were not honest restroom users. We did not have laundry. We were not customers. But we peed anyway. So sue me.
I don’t think anything else in Wells could have summed up the town’s culture more than the signs in that place. It was a potpourri of handwritten commands, 8 ½ x 11 computer paper signs painstakingly typed, and kitschy wooden signs straight out of a friendly neighborhood yard sale.
Apparently they are afflicted with Canadian quarters.
After all that hullabaloo, we found out that The Otto Clinic didn’t even have the right parts for us. So we had to drive 30 mph on the freeway all the way to Elko with the windows down while semi trucks whizzed passed us like comets. I know what you’re thinking: that’s a good time.
And you know what? It actually was. There is a certain threshold of misery that creates bonding experiences, and I am pleased to say we experienced that. Plus, we still made it in time to see these two get hitched. Win-win.