In the fall of 1961, John Steinbeck had already written some of his masterpieces of world literature, e.g. The grapes of wrath, East of Eden, Canary row, one year before he received the Noble Prize for literature, he started on a tour of the United States in a dark green General Motors pickup truck with camper shell and took his poodle Charley with him.
He called the truck Rocinante
and had the name painted on the cabin in supposedly medieval letters. Rocinante was the name of Don Quijote’s horse and perhaps Steinbeck felt like embarking on a donquijotérie as the French say, a ridiculously silly undertaking.
Anyway, although I didn’t fall in love with the name immediately I had to concede that it at least was a very original idea, an idea worth copying in the best possible manner, just like the Chinese do so brilliantly once in a while. So Rocinante was to be the name of our car for the time of our tour too. Another problem solved, I thought and was quite happy. However, Ulla didn’t like Rocinante. She didn’t even acknowledge the name as a proposition, in other words she hates it deeply for reasons that aren’t all that clear to me.
She was thinking of Red White in analogy to Snow White, not a bad idea either. On the other hand Rocinante had grown on me considerably over time and I didn’t want to let go easily. We could have tried to agree on a totally different name but unfortunately neither of us could come up with a half way decent idea. Now what?
You know, I said, let’s not make things overly complicated. Since the car comes in two colors it may as well have two names.
We have not yet decided on the name and who knows, perhaps we leave the whole question undecided and travel with the two names RedWhite and Rocinante.
This morning I decorated my side of the car with a small stripe of flags of countries we have already traveled. Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg which are practically around the corner from where we live, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and now the Star Spangled Banner along with the European flag and – #rocinante.