3x5 | John Mayer
I got gas today at a gas station brandishing the name, “Chevron with Techron.” So what the fuck is Techron anyway?
It’s so indivisibly part of that phrase, but it doesn’t mean anything. Like, why is Chevron always offered with Techron? Has anyone ever walked in to pay at the cash register and been like “Hi, I’d like my Chevron without Techron, thank you.”
I have never seen Techron with my own two eyes. My first thought is that it’s some secret formula, some chemical they put in the gas to make it extra-effective. So saying “Chevron with Techron” is like labelling a food item, like, “Orange Juice with Vitamin C” or “Brownies with Pot”. I’m pretty sure that’s what I passively believed Techron to be when I was a kid. But that doesn’t make much sense. So then I thought, maybe Techron is a mascot. Like Tony the Tiger. There are, after all, a lot of drawings of animated cars in Chevron propaganda. Maybe one of them is Techron, so when you get gas there it’s like, “Get Chevron with Techron! [TECHRON smiles and winks a windshield wiper at the camera. Cut to black.]“
I think that idea is my personal favorite for Techron, even though there are other possibilities (insurance policy? special automated pumping system?). If I ever get a dog I might name it Techron, so that I can bring him in the car and say I’m going to get Chevron with Techron.
Well… maybe it would be too dorky to say. But I’ll think it.
Techron would be a good name for a dog, actually. You could call him Tech for short, which I think has a nice ring to it. It sounds like one of those douchey 50s names, like Skip and Rush and… I dunno, Mitt. (Why do Republicans always have douchey names?)
The gas was so that I could drive to Santa Cruz and tie up a few loose ends with the registrar and my rock climbing membership and so forth before I leave for the Amazon in two days. I know that where I’m going is a place of sweltering tropical languor and heat, but for me driving over the summit of Highway 17 is driving into endless summer. It was a clear day in Santa Cruz; the green was starting to creep back into the meadows; the sun was crisp and bright; and from the linguistics offices in Stevenson I could see down the green sweep of the town all the way over the blue, blue waters of the Monterey Bay to the land on the other side. The Moss Landing smokestacks 40 or 50 miles away, usually a hazy silhouette of a thing, were in sharp relief. I don’t know when I last saw such a clear day. And it was… well, I’m going to miss it. I went to Bry and Annaïs’ place in the Porter apartments and they were there along with a bunch more of my friends, and we had salad with blueberries and pot stickers for lunch, and hung out. Everything was all clean and bright from people having moved out and then moved back in. And… I’m just going to miss it a lot. Going to miss them a lot.
On my way back I was listening to a mix CD I just made. Now, before I tell the rest of this slightly embarrassing story, I need to say that songs almost never make me cry. Maybe I’ll be listening to a sad song for a specific reason which is making me cry, but for a song to emotionally create something out of nothing? It doesn’t happen to me. Maybe this wasn’t “something out of nothing” because it had to do with the trip I’m about to take, but the song “3x5” by John Mayer came on, and to my own bewilderment I started to tear up. I have to stress that I’m honestly not mentioning the I-never-cry thing to be all macho, it’s just that the first reaction I felt was “Wha–?!?! whoa.” When you think about it, 2 minutes really should not be time enough for you to build up enough emotion to cry. It’s weird and abrupt. That’s how it felt: abrupt.
But anyway. This song, this song is so perfect, and something about it caught me by surprise. Part of the reason I’m so excited to go to Peru is because lately I’m feeling dizzied by the crush of technology and staying connected, and the pace of life when some important news about my 992 friends on Facebook breaks every twenty minutes. Five different passwords. Three different e-mail accounts. Keep in touch via Skype with your friends from this class, and that class, and that summer…. I just want to get off the map and really live. And this song, the title is after a common print size for photographs – 3×5 – and it goes, “Didn’t have a camera by my side this time/ Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes.”
Yeah, I’m bringing a camera to Peru, but the camera isn’t the point. Some combination of the experience I’m looking for and what I know I have in Santa Cruz – friends that are always there to share food with you when you show up at their door; something that can’t be photographed or quantified in Facebook posts – really hit me. The friends that are really worth something have a connection with you deeper than what you can share and describe. Just as I know that my time in the jungle will mean more to me than any blog or photo could ever share or describe. The magic is in realizing that, and not trying too hard to share and describe it anyway. As the song goes, “You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes/ it brought me back to life…” The idea that stopping to really see something, even something ordinary, can save you. I heard it as if for the first time. And I… well… sort of…. um. cried.
Yup, that was embarrassing. I’ll be going into hiding in Peru now. Be back in 2 months.
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3x5 | John Mayer
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Maybe I will tell you all about it when I’m in the mood to lose my way, but let me say, You should have seen that...
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3x5 | John Mayer I got gas today at a gas station brandishing the name, “Chevron with Techron.” So what the fuck is...
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