In Joshua Tree I Saw Lots of Meteors and Learned That Mick Jagger Is Good


On Sunday my friends and I went to Joshua Tree to see the Perseid Meteor Shower. We stayed at Hicksville, which is a trailer park in a secret location in the middle of nowhere. I'd never been to Joshua Tree before; the last time I'd been out to the desert at all was seven years ago, the time I went nightswimming with the people who were family with Paul McCartney. Hicksville was rad and there's a teepee and a Cramps-themed trailer and a place to shoot BB guns, and on Monday/Tuesday we almost had the whole place to ourselves. Here's a pic of some of the trailers and our pool and the big beautiful terrifying desert:

Maybe my favorite thing about Hicksville was the jukebox, which was free and had amazing music, like the first two Big Star records and a lot of Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and Beatles, and the Go-Gos and X and the Replacements and Wanda Jackson and Serge Gainsbourg and everything. It had Megan Draper singing "Zou Bisou Bisou"! And Skating Polly! Here's a picture of me picking out jukebox songs:

I was really into picking out songs for breakfast. On Monday we had breakfast quesadillas cooked in a skillet on the grill, and mimosas on ice and strawberries and chocolate, and the first thing I played was "Hey Good Lookin'" by Hank Williams, which is a perfect song for eating eggs and drinking champagne from a plastic cup at a picnic table in a trailer park in the middle of the desert in August when it's a gabillion degrees out. I would really love a job as a desert breakfast DJ, if you know of anything like that. And if you've never gone swimming at dusk to "Coming Down Again" by the Rolling Stones, then you should absolutely do that as soon as possible.

Our trailer was called "The Sweet," it was supposed to be like a van that teenagers would do drugs and make out in circa 1976 or something. The decor was very "stoner Greg Brady." There were lots of eight tracks stashed on one of the shelves, and the ceiling was mirrored plastic:

Hicksville also had some killer vending machines - they sold beer and Dunkin Donuts coffee and moon pies and Tab. On Monday morning/afternoon/whatever I had a chill time drinking Tab and painting my nails coral-with-gold-sparkles and reading fucking Helter Skelter which I can't ever put down despite its leaving me in constant terror:

On Sunday night we had dinner at Pappy & Harriet's, which is a honky tonk/barbecue place in Pioneertown. I loved Pappy & Harriet's so much, I couldn't even waste any time feeling sorry for myself that it's inconveniently located 127.95 miles from my house. It opened in 1972 and it indulged my I'd-rather-be-living-in-1972 brattiness in the warmest, cutest way and there were bats flying around the parking lot. All through dinner there was a beautiful band playing - the singer wore black velvet bellbottoms and had a cool Joni Mitchell-y face that was really pacifying to gaze upon. They covered lots of Band songs and also "Sweet Virginia," which inspired me to reclaim "Sweet Virginia" as my favorite Rolling Stones song forever.

For dinner I had beer and chicken and rice. It was an overwhelmingly huge piece of chicken and at some point I just got sick of eating it and two of my dude friends swooped in and devoured the rest, which impressed me. That's gotta be a cool thing about being a dude: just never giving a second thought to reaching over and tearing the meat off someone else's chicken with your fingers. I also like it when dudes don't ask first before shoving their filthy hands into your bag of potato chips/pretzels/Doritos/what-have-you. "Carefree piggishness" is an A-plus personality trait in my book.

Anyway another great thing about Pappy & Harriet's is the bathroom has really ideal selfie-ing conditions, probably second only to the bar bathroom in my hometown that's got John Lennon Live in New York City posters for wallpaper. I really selfied my heart out on Sunday night.

There was also some Blake Babies graffiti on the bathroom wall - a thing like that! I mean really what are the odds

So the big show with the Perseids was supposed to happen on Monday night, but we ended up seeing meteors on Sunday night too. I halfway wish I had pictures but you can't do that with an iPhone camera, plus it's just cosmically wrong. You can't Instagram the cosmos.

On Monday night I mostly watched the meteors from this deeply uncomfortable bed-thing up on the roof, where the hot tub was. I don't think I've ever seen a night sky that dark before, or stars that bright - it kind of scared the hell out of me, I felt unprotected and terrified by the hugeness of the Milky Way and the universe and everything. At one point I was up on the roof alone and all I could hear in the world were the power lines jangling all around, buzzing in this creepy, snakey way that felt ominous at the time but now seems pretty cool. I wanted to listen to music (I had some idea that it was really important for me to listen to Dinosaur Jr. in the desert, and then Flying Burrito Brothers, and then Dinosaur Jr. covering Flying Burrito Brothers) but I couldn't find my earbuds, which as it turns out were about two inches from my hand the entire time. So I lay there a while and tried to bask in the evil desert energy, then went back down to my friends and lay in the Astroturf and watched some more meteors. Some were so big and bright and shot so far across the sky - I can't even imagine how many zillions of miles they were flying in like one tiny, crazy second. It's just not for me to understand.

The next day we had bagels and coffee and more champagne and strawberries and got packed up and headed out. As we were driving away from the trailer park and back into the world, I put my earbuds on and hit "genius" on "Christine's Tune" by the Flying Burrito Brothers and one of the first things that came up was "Jigsaw Puzzle," which is maybe my third fave Rolling Stones song. I like how the guitar jangles like power lines but not in an evil way. I like how Mick is so sad and dramatic. I love Mick Jagger so much and I felt really protected by him in the desert, and I still feel protected by him now. The desert made me one thousand percent certain that Mick Jagger is good.


  1. I was gonna say, "pics or it didn't happen" but the pics are there, and they are awesome. "Helter Skelter" is probably the best/worst thing to read in the vicinity of Los Angeles.

    1. true! i have to put it in another room when i go to sleep

  2. Next time you go out there you should do the Gram tour (Joshua Tree Inn, Cap Rock, etc). There's nothing like sleeping in his room and swimming in the same pool that him and Keith did. The people that stay there are always super interesting and mellow too, it's awesome. Stay rad.

    1. i so want to do that! i wanted to go to the joshua tree inn this time but we didn't really leave the trailer park...