Nowhere is Far Behind

The hardest part about my hometown is trying to imagine it through objective eyes.

Looking west to Alturas

After driving hours on a narrow highway, winding through mountain passes and long, summer-dry valleys, any sign of civilization is a relief.

Even if there aren't all that many. But it's hard to stay awake this late, and the other town was gone before it was even there, it seemed. A paper-cutout ridge of mountains lines the horizon on the east side, improbably snow-capped. There really only seems to be this one main street–oh there are intersecting streets, but they don't seem to lead anywhere. Exploring further, there are likely only churches left to find.

All the streets seem too wide for the lack of traffic, and does anyone actually live there? Wait, two jean-clad people of indeterminate gender have just stepped from one of the stores. It's an old-fashioned main street: two-story, western-style facades, one-building blocks, and none of the stores particularly stand out. Although the Title Co. seems to have been repainted recently–as opposed to anything else, but it doesn't look much like a Title Co. at second glance, whatever a Title Co. may be.

Then there's the flashing yellow light: "FIE TUK CROSSING"

Over the railroad tracks and already more than halfway through town. But signs, finally, of not being in the Twilight Zone remake: there's a RiteAid! a Shell! And a Quiznos!–how sudden. Their bright, professionally designed logos and plastic colors seem dropped from Mars.

Fortunately, the incongruous sight passes quickly, and after the flashing red light intersection–the only one in town, the road continues, and real civilization is only a little more than a hundred miles away.

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