I am a damp person. I was born by the sea, I was raised by the sea, I live by the sea, I swim in the sea, and if I’m lucky I’ll die in the sea. I would describe myself as a bin bag full of sea water. I am still surprised to feel physical discomfort looking at American Truck Simulator‘s upcoming Utah expansion. One screenshot in particular shivered my spine and goosed my pimples. South of Salt Like City, a row of houses sit atop a lump of big red rock. Just there. Regular houses. People live there. In that arid environment. Like that’s fine. Oh god.
SCS Software blogged today about the variety of rocks they’re making for Utah and yeah, I adore American Truck Simulator as a form of gentle tourism and am up for big rocks.
This road? I’ll happily drive this road and coo at the rocks.
Just like in the cartoons. Lovely.
But this road? No. Absolutely not.
Without the distracting novelty of red rock, the eye instantly recognises this would-be-majestic formation as horrifying. I imagine touching the ground and it’s dust, it’s gravel and it’s sand and it’s dust.
Or consider this landscape, where a river appears to have fled the surface. No. Not for me.
I trust a river’s judgement, thank you very much.
Now this is the mundane scene that got to me. So far this desert has been roadside scenery, places to drive through. This is where I realised it’s normal to have houses. Just there. In that.
I imagined living in one of those houses, there in Utah. I felt myself opening my front door, walking out into that arid air, and taking a deep breath. I paused to apply chapstick to my lips, and as my fingers flexed I felt how dry and tight my knuckles were. I take a step and the dry red gravel crunches and slides underfoot, kicking up dust. I start gasping in shock but the thin, dry air is no help. I am going to die in Utah, 500 miles from the sea.
I flitted around the I-15 on Google Street View trying to find this spot and had to stop. It’s too much. 3 million people live there. They built houses there. In that. So far from the sea. I feel physical discomfort with all this Utah. It’s like pictures of spiders or ASMR videos. My body just feels wrong now.
I now consider that giant hole even more cursed.
I will be driving with great speed through Utah, peeking through my fingers and screaming, when the expansion hits American Truck Simulator later this year (last I heard). That’s basically what I do with half of the game world already anyway, with its unholy focus on arid states. Please, more moistness, I beg you.