Salt Lake Blues

Two and a half weeks is longer than anyone should have to stay in Salt Lake City. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got its charms, and I’m sure the denizens of this landmark locale could enlighten me as to the virtues of life by the Lake. Yet we unplanned interlopers, lacking the vehicular means of mobility, grew swiftly stir-crazy in the salty city.

It all started when our truck broke down two hours east of SLC. The company sent a tow truck to tow us to the city so we could get repaired, but the tow (which should have taken two hours) wound up taking about six, because the tow truck’s thermostat was busted and the truck kept overheating. We’d move for about two minutes, then have to stop to let the engine cool, then move another five minutes, then let the engine cool… You know it’s bad when the tow truck needs a tow truck.

Eventually we made it to town, got checked in, and found ourselves calling a dozen hotels seeking a vacancy. Turned out there was an essential-oils convention in town, with attendees numbering in the range of fifty thousand, and they’d booked up all the hotels in the area. After searching for some time, we found a hotel with a room, though the price of the room had been jacked from $75 a night all the way up to $200 a night due to the demand for vacancies. (Fortunately it was walking distance from a significant number of restaurants, or we’d have spent a fortune on taxis.)

We burned through all five seasons of Letterkenny, read three-quarters of The Color of Magic, worked on our numerous personal projects until our brains went numb, and ate at every single restaurant in a two-mile radius. And that was just the first week.

The second week was spent on more of the same, with a trip to the Great Salt Lake, followed by a highly-rated Italian restaurant to break up the monotony. The restaurant was incredible, and I wish we could have gone back for seconds. If we ever have the misfortune of being stuck in SLC a second time, I’ll be sure to drop by that gastronomical delight a second time. The lake, however, was underwhelming: a large mass of water, smelling of rotten eggs, interspersed with barren islands. The two major exports of the lake are salt and sea monkeys. Neither were very exciting, yet somehow the documentary at the visitor’s center managed to talk about the lake and its history for two straight hours.

Did you know that Mark Twain once came to Salt Lake City? He and his friends planned to visit the lake, but then they forgot about it and never made the trip.

They didn’t miss much.

While we were at the visitor’s center, I picked up a copy of the “cult classic” horror movie called Carnival of Souls, a film which has received critical acclaim and an ardent fandom which claim it to be “the ultimate cult horror masterpiece” and “as close to pure cinema as America ever came.” Needless to say, Christina and I were quite confused when, upon returning to Texas for home time, we watched the film and found that it was one of the most awful films we’d ever seen. The writing was bad, the acting was worse, the plot was vacant, and the most horrifying aspect of the film was the performance by Sidney Berger, who played the slimy sleaze-ball dimwit who kept trying to get the protagonist to sleep with him (and wouldn’t take no for an answer).

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The True Monster of Carnival of Souls

Nearly as bad was the performance of the lead actress, whose whole purpose in the film was to stare into space, obsess over an abandoned building, and break into hysterics when the sleaze-ball accused her of being uninterested in him. She should have been running away from him at full speed, but instead encouraged his advances by begging “please don’t go” right after insisting that she wasn’t interested.

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This one image sums up 99% of her role in the film.

Not even the RiffTrack could save this one. After giving up on that train wreck, we cleansed our palates with some Brooklyn Nine Nine and ice cream.

All things considered, being back home in Texas after spending two and a half weeks in SLC was a welcome reprieve, and after our home-time was over, we were glad to get back on the road. We’re just hoping that our truck can play nice and stay out of the shop for a month or two this time around.

Wish us luck.

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