I’m in South Bend, Indiana! Still!

Hello, blorb readers o’ mine. How are you all?

Well, that’s enough about you. Let’s talk about me now. Not for long, though, since Cat and I are now getting ready to leave our hotel in South Bend, IN to drive in our rented Nissan GasHogger SUV to Chicago, where we’re going to spend the day doing  Cultural Stuff, which will culminate this evening in our going to see the play “Wicked.” I think it’s about an English team of has-been cricket players. But I could be wrong about that. We’ll see.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve learned thus far during our two-stay here in South Bend:

Being interviewed on TV can send you into a trance in which the Holy Spirit takes over your brain and mouth and just starts talking for you. That’s what happened to me when I was interviewed on The Harvest Show, anyway. Which was great, because I was really tired, and probably wouldn’t have been able to think of much to say on my own.

In San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego–the places where I’ve spent most of my life–being unpretentious is something to aspire to. In Indiana–and, I’ve found, in the Midwest generally–it’s just normal.

People are really friendly out here. This is terrible to say, but somehow, growing up in Big City California, I guess I’ve been programmed to sort of immediately wonder why someone I don’t know is being nice to me. Here, people just have a natural, easy kindness about them. They feel and act trustworthy.

They have bugs out here. Bugs you could kill, slather with sauce, barbecue, eat, and have leftovers. Bugs you see on the side of the road hitchhiking. Big bugs. Lots of them. I know keep thinking that planet earth actually belongs to bugs, and that we humans are just a temporary aberration.

People out here love air conditioning. Every place we’ve been into out here is like a meat locker.

If you stand anywhere in South Bend with your eyes closed and throw a rock, you’ll hit a church. So you shouldn’t do that.

The cathedral on the campus of Notre Dame is so resplendently glorious that I am now forced to (periodically) picture Jesus wearing a football helmet. What a place! Magnificent. I had no idea. You gotta give it to the Catholics: those guys sure know how to build a church.

The food in California is way better than it is in the Midwest. Cat and I were thinking it’s because of California’s great weather, and how much food is actually produced there–which of course makes it fresher. Makes sense. I never think of myself as a food snob, or spoiled culinarily (is that a word?), but that changed once Cat and I ordered a cheese-and-fruit platter in a snazzy downtown restaurant here in South Bend, and got a brick-sized chunk of normal, Safeway-style cheddar, the same of Monterey Jack, and a huge cluster of mostly soggy grapes. And that was pretty typical of our experiences here dining out. In a way it’s kind of cool, though. Where I’m from, everyone trips about food–partly, I think, because when you have so much of it to choose from, what you choose becomes a kind of moral issue, a way of proclaiming where you are spiritually. Here, no one seems to connect those two two. It’s nice.

Everyone’s moving out of South Bend. I have no idea why. But man there’s a lot of homes for sale out here.

I want seasons. We don’t have any seasons in California–and we sure don’t in San Diego, where the weather only varies between “nice” or “nicer.”

You can’t expect sympathy from anyone in South Bend, if you’re telling them about how dull it is to always live in “nice” weather.

I think, at heart, I’m a Midwesterner. I think, in fact, that we all are.

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  • Spicyblogger

    Just found your blog from a link at crosswalk, and was a bit dissapointed that you thought warren lost the debate. Were you just saying that to get people to read the transcripts? I logged onto the msnbc full text transcript of the athiest-christian debate, and really felt bad for sam harris the athiest because he couldn't convince the way that warren can. What specifically did you find disconcerting about the dialogue?

    I wish that warren would have cleaned up even more: he could have asked about existentialism's taboo discussion of racism. If we really do evolve from monkeys then what does that say about people of color? Sam Harris would have to conclude people of color are lower on the evolutionary scale.

    I additionally liked what one reader said:

    John, with all due respect I've got to agree with the other comments here. It's a terribly inaccurate assertion to say:

    "In the very, very final analysis, we simply cannot rationally defend our belief in God."

    I doubt you could find a single Christian apologetics expert who would agree wiht that statement. The idea that a lie can be better defended logically than the truth is itself illogical.