Right Through Nowhere

The seamless gray that dominates the Fresno sky this time of year has withdrawn to reveal the brilliant face of the Sun, which hopefully is a good omen for my forthcoming trip this weekend to Aptos: a little city on the coast near Santa Cruz. The last time my family and I attempted to make it to Aptos our van broke down in a town sadly named Los Banos, which is supposed to be translated “The Rest Stop,” but which is often referred to as “The Toilet,” due to its being located in the middle of nowhere between the Central Valley and the coast.

At least the van had the decency to signal its impending failure, which prompted me to turn around at the edge of town, and go right back to locate a garage. Moreover, it had the decency to fight the good fight all the way till I was able to park it in the lot of that garage, a garage that was located right across the street from Chillis, which meant that the family had a relatively nice place to hang out and eat while a mechanic attempted to heal our ailing van.

Anyways, over 3000 dollars later, here we are, my family and I, on the threshold of embarking on the same journey, and I have a slight knot in my stomach, which will likely tighten when I go past that same garage, on that long strip of road right through nowhere, between here and there, where the lapping waves of the coast are calling our name. Surely this time we will make it, but just in case, if you are one who prays, I would appreciate you mentioning my name, my family, and my van, whom you can call Rocinante.

6 Responses to “Right Through Nowhere”

  1. K.L.B.  

    Perhaps an approriate response would be to stop by the garage, say ‘hi,’ offer a word of thanks, and encouragement.

    I hope you do.

  2. Simon  

    You named the van! LOL :-)

    Okay, so this is a good time for an experiment… I just asked Ganesha to see that your journey goes well. Ganesha is, as you might know, the Hindu god of travel. He has an elephants face and is a bit of a chubby God, but apparently he’s the go-to-God for the many millions of Hundu’s around the world.

    So now, assuming you get there as planned who should we attribute your success to? The baby Jesus (or grown up Jesus depending on your preference) or elephant faced Ganesha? Or might it just be down to random luck?

  3. Anthony Velez  

    Simon – As it happened, we did have problems with the power steering. Fortunately we made it to Aptos. In fact, we made it all the way to the house, before the steering completely gave out, and even as I type this, the car is being looked at at a local garage. So, do I blame my problem on the fact that you prayed to Ganesha instead of Jesus? Before I left, I prayed to Jesus for traveling mercies, and so maybe we made it to Aptos because of that prayer, and maybe the power steering went out because you prayed to Ganesha. On the other hand, it would be just as easy to flip it, if my frame of reference was Hinduism instead of Christianity. In the end, I would rather pray to a Jewish Carpenter, than a pachyderm. Can I justify this beyond personal preference. In some degree perhaps, but that would be beyond the scope of this blog, and ultimately, as you know, religious conviction cannot be empirically, nor rationally proven.

  4. Simon Jones  

    First off I want to say that I can’t believe a cool guy like yourself just used the religious term “traveling mercies.” I think it’s likely that Jesus heard that term and rolled his eyes then fked up your power steering for using such a lame ass term! :-)

    Funny thing here is that perhaps if you had prayed to Ganesha then maybe you would have gotten there? But this, as you point out, is a rather pointless exercise because we can all religiously justify our luck. “God slowed me down by breaking my steering because there must have been something bad further down the road.” “God was testing me.” “God hates minivans.” Anyway you look at it, from any religious angle, anything can be justified. I guess thats how, how else do you suppose a person can conclude that God wants them to strap explosives to their chest and board a bus full of women and children?

    To be clear, this is not an attack. Just an interesting return to your comment.

  5. Anthony Velez  

    Simon – As far as my use of the phrase “traveling mercies,” yes, it is cliche Evangelical speak, but regarding the issue of cool, I try not to be too earnest about it, as that would not be cool. As I see it, I want just enough cool to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground, but not so much that I am buried by it.

    So, here are a few more cliches for ya:

    “Comfort zone”
    “What would Jesus do”
    “Radical for the Lord”
    “It’s not about religion; it’s about a relationship”

  6. Simon Jones  

    I saw a great T shirt worn by someone in Aus. It read WWBD. I asked them what it stood for so they turned around whereupon the back read “What Would Buddha Do?” :-) I liked that, it made me laugh, and I thought that was “cool.”