Las Vegas, 2022

It rained in Las Vegas last night. For a few minutes, I sped down a rain-slicked desert parkway with beads of water across the windshield. When I rolled down the window, a beautiful scent filled the car. Like fresh vinyl. But I’m not a nature writer.

The unique scent of desert rain has something to do with dry soil and the creosote bush, and it has a scientific name, petrichor, derived from the Greek words for stone and the blood of the gods.

The rain stopped as I pulled into the parking lot of a church in the far northwest corner of the city. I sat in the basement for an hour and listened to men speak. A small map hung from the far wall with a blob of land around a body of water, and after squinting at it for a while, I thought I could make out the shape of Clark County and Lake Mead. Later I realized it was a map of Guatemala.

Disorientation has become my hobby. Each day I learn something new. For instance, Las Vegas has more Del Tacos than any other city in the United States, and it’s exponentially better than Taco Bell.

My current night-driving soundtrack is this Dutch track from ’82 that sounds downright sinister forty years later: They call it computers, useless anyway, they say it’s the future, they say it’s useful for us. Do you remember when we used to be human? They call it robots, meant to be your friend. They say it’s the future, they say it’s useful for us, and we should be grateful…

Nine Circles – What’s There Left?

RadioNome | VPRO, 1982 | More
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