Needles, California

On our way back to California from a cross-country trip, we exited the interstate just briefly enough to stop at a grocery store in Needles. We needed to buy a few bottles of water. It was the middle of summer, and needless to say, swelteringly hot. As we pulled up to the vending machine outside the store, we saw hundreds, maybe thousands of cockroaches lining the outside of the front of the store. Maybe they were enjoying the shade, perhaps the remnants of water that had pooled around the vending machine. I will never know.

Maybe that’s just the way it is in any desert town, but Needles is the first, and only, place I have ever seen this.

When I told my dad that we had just driven through Needles, he declared, “Needles? If they gave the United States an enema, that’s where they’d put it.”

Also worth noting, as I write this I see that Needles is needless without the last “s”. That’s kind of perfect.