Peruvian Gray

Peru’s northern coast is so bleak that it becomes transcendent.  Like the night defining blackness or a snowstorm defining whiteness, Lima and most of the coast define grayness.  There are places where the sky and the sea and the sand meet in a continuum of grayness that is seamless, the perfect background for something, like maybe a shopping mall or a carnival or a hallucination.  It reminded me of New Mexico.  That day way back when in New Mexico was the only true whiteout I’ve ever seen or felt, driving through hundreds of miles of landscape almost undifferentiated by whiteness.  When I lost one of my snow chains I couldn’t even stop in the single non-snow-drifted lane.  When I needed to piss I couldn’t even use the snow-drifted exit ramp for fear I’d never get back.  So on I went, hours and hours in a little capsule through the whiteness flying on instruments, using dead reckoning to plot my course.  The only reason I didn’t get vertigo was because there was a road under me.  At least I think there was; I never actually saw black asphalt.  It only changed when I got to the Colorado state line, where the road was totally clear all the way to Denver.  Apparently New Mexicans don’t like to work in the snow.  How can they expect me to sacrifice myself in the service of industry if they aren’t willing?  At least I got to see the OTHER Las Vegas.