After my failure with Blythe, I had lost hope in finding anywhere in the Sonoran Desert worse than Dorris. The drive from Blythe to Phoenix is void of even the smallest civilization (aside from Quartzsite) and even if there was a town of lesser appeal (like Quartzsite), it would have had the backdrop of staggeringly beautiful desert mystique. Even Tucson, Phoenix’s maladjusted little brother, was a place of exquisite beauty and exciting college-town feel. Yet, there was a beacon of hope on the ghastly horizon. Somewhere between Tucson and California is a little town called Why. Yes, really. Why, Arizona.
Other than being in the midst of an existential crisis, Why was actually okay. What wasn’t was a settlement about 20-25 miles east of Why. Unfortunately I have been unable to find the name of this settlement. Perhaps its name hid itself in shame, because it could very well be not only worse than Dorris, but worse than Lost Hills, and it gives Trona a run for its money as Worst Place in America. To start with – the settlement isn’t even paved.
Not only was there no pavement, and not only were the buildings on the verge of collapsing, the surrounding Southern Arizonan environment wasn’t even its usual rocky, spired self. On the contrary, it was completely flat and empty.
While taking pictures, an unhappy-looking older man walked by me, and although we were the only two people on the scorched terrain, he didn’t even make eye-contact. I was struck by that mischievous feeling of Guilt and its annoying little brother, Empathy. Here I am joking about the misfortune of a town to which I have no connection. I don’t know the people who live there. They could be suffering in poverty, or they could love their little community and have something that I, an outsider, wouldn’t even comprehend. So, citizens of mocked towns, I apologize. But I won’t stop, because your towns look awful. Seriously. The least you could do is prop your barbed wire fence back up.
So, little settlement with no name, regardless of whether you like it or not, you are worse than Dorris. If you agree, then please, move out. If you disagree, look around you – you might be able to spot your oblivion on the horizon. The vast, empty, arid horizon.
Now, without further ado, more philosophy!