I’m headed north from Arcadia , on my way to Coos Bay , Oregon . I’m on Highway 99 , which cuts through the Central Valley farm land , through Delano , Fresno , Sacramento .
Usually I take Interstate 5 , several miles west of the 99 . It more or less parallels 99 . It’s a newer road , fewer towns along it , fewer facilities . The 5 is more desolate , thus more boring , but faster . If one is in a hurry , one should take the 5 . If one wants to ; purely one’s decision ; I don’t mean to tell one what one should do . One should think it over , perhaps , unless one doesn’t want to think it over . Whatever . One knows better what one should plan for oneself .
A much prettier drive north is the 101 . The 101 glides along , passing rolling hills , oak -strewn pastures , and golden highlands , and more and more grapevines these days , too . Much slower but even prettier is to travel Highway 1 along the California coast — mountains and ocean ; mountains and ocean .
Memory from long ago : ” We never should have left Ohio . We have everything back in Ohio . All you’ve got in California is mountains and ocean , mountains and ocean . ” I was working at a moving company storage warehouse in Santa Monica at the time . An older couple had moved out from their home in Ohio and had just finished the winding driving on Highway 1 all the way from Portland to Santa Monica . The woman repeated her frustration-fueled complaint several times . I had to listen . The refrain was ” We have everything back in Ohio . ”
” Except mountains and ocean , ” I said , eventually . Her husband may have caught my drift . He may have smiled a little back-bench smile , an unspoken declaration that he had enjoyed the drive . It was so long ago I can’t remember how it all ended . They needed to arrange for their furniture to be delivered wherever they intended to land , or to pay for the movers , or whatever , once she caught her breath and calmed down . Someone should have informed her : You’re in the Golden State now , lady . It ain’t all mountains and ocean .
So I was thinking about that incident out behind the warehouse back when I was a kid while I was driving up the flat dry valley , smelling cows , and listening to Sean Hannity . No mountains ; no ocean . It was either Hannity or the preachers or the Spanish stations . Last time I came up through the Central Valley it seems to me it was Rush Limbaugh . Or the preachers . Or Spanish .
Bueno , entonces ! Radio XXXW de Pixley . Por que no ? Que te cuentas ?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this , but Fox News doesn’t really care much for the President . If Obama said it must be Friday , they’d say no it isn’t , and why is Obama lying to the American people . Hannity , today , all across the Central Valley of California , was bitching about The Government again ; it’s evil ; it’s out to get us . Thomas Paine warned us way back in 1776 , Hannity said . He said he’s scared and it’s getting worse ; government’s only out to screw the American people . He’s scared . He doesn’t know how anybody isn’t .
My dentist died . I liked him and I thought that he was a good dentist . He taught at the USC dental school . He had been a math teacher , too , before becoming a dentist . Teachers and ex-teachers get a few extra points from me . He had a lively sense of humor — always a good thing . He was a sports fanatic , too ; he knew every statistic , studied the coaches , had formed predictions for next season . It took him three or four years of sharing his sports knowledge with me , during checkups twice a year , to finally realize that I don’t follow sports , that I couldn’t discuss the coaches’ approaches to save my life , and ( I know ; it’s un-American ) that I don’t really care who wins the season ,this year or next , or what players we’ll trade to which teams , or where the coaches learned their craft , or where the scouts will find the newbies — all the ins and outs of armchair quarterbacking and couch coaching . Choose from the most used tags
I talk about my dentist here because I had the greated respect for the man , a highly educated respecter of intelligence and education . And ( here it comes ) : a Hannity- lover . A Bill What’s-his-name lover , too . ” But don’t you think Obama should have ….? And ” Don’t you think the government …. ? ” I waited three or four years ( two check-ups a year ) to answer . No use rushing things .
” I’m the wrong one to talk to , ” I said — let him consider that , turn it over in his mind , ruminate , for another six-months, ’til my next appointment . Or maybe a year .
Hannity’s good for a little paranoia-spiced entertainment on a long drive , for a bit . But it’s not really nuanced reasoning he demonstrates , is it ? I switched , happily , to a Hank Williams CD that I’d had the forethought to bring along . And then a bluegrass album . And then Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee . They all blended well with the windshield views of cotton fields and cow pens , railroad tracks and pickup trucks , crop pickers and nut orchards and tractor -raised dust clouds on hazy horizons .
I stopped for the night in a little town called Galt , at a comfortable Best Western motel . I ate a sandwich that Ada had lovingly packed for me , a slice of her delicious meatloaf with a hardboiled egg in the middle on good bread with chipotle sauce ; and then I sat in the jacuzzi out behind the motel for awhile , unwinding , and forgetting about how the government is out to get me . Yeah , Obama ! If you can find me ! I already said I’m in Galt . ( hint : it’s near Lodi , NSA , if you’re listening ) .