Through a combination of bad luck and pure unbridled pigheadedness, I managed to have a car breakdown in the worst place possible
I remember the web form I used when buying car insurance. There were a number of boxes for add-ons and I unchecked most of them, but some little voice in my head told me to leave the "roadside assistance" box checked, thinking "what the heck, it's only ten bucks a year." I shudder to think about what could have been.
It turned out to be an advantage that I was a hundred miles from the nearest dealership. It meant my insurance would cover a tow to any dealership in a hundred mile radius, and naturally I chose Vegas. This is infinitely better than the terrifying desolation of say, Mojave, which is where my car first started complaining.
I'm indefinitely in Vegas now. Alone. If you're not one of the revellers, and just want to get back to your normal life, the skyscrapers of Vegas look very different. They are bizarre monstrosities mocking you with their garishness.
I managed to find a reasonably cheap motel for the next few days. And rented a Dodge Caravan. In case you didn't realize how funny that is, let me say it again: I rented a Dodge Caravan. Because that's the only thing they had. At some level I knew how big these minivans were, but you don't really feel it until you climb into one. My first thought was, "great, if I accidentally have like three kids someday I know exactly what to get!" In fact, I think the Caravan may have more interior space than my motel room.
The best thing I did today was to find the UNLV campus. Around here, it almost looks like a normal place. Familiar signs of civilized life -- coffee shops, In-n-out burger, WiFi. Free WiFi! The last one is a godsend, because almost anywhere in the strip you can't get Internet even if you paid for it. And there's only so much I can do with the 240x240 screen on my phone.
Sitting in a coffee shop, surrounded by students studying, I keep falling into the impression that I'm back in school. Then look up with a start and realize I'm still in the middle of my fucking nightmare and I don't know when it will end and how much it will cost me. At this point, it's going to be at least 3 grand.