Friday, July 10, 2009

Walk #190: Angwin, PUC and the Color Cream...

Little flags with sayings on them inspire PUC students

Cream Colored Buildings...

So much for the ban on Graven Images...

I worked a twelve hour shift today. Afterwards I drove the three miles up the hill, to what must be the most boring place on Earth: Angwin, California.

Angwin is home to Pacific Union College and its 1500 students. Yet, this town has no coffee shops, bars, dance halls, movie theatres, restaurants or fun. The town is run by its Adventist residents--and is like no other place in the United States. Adventists are traditionally vegetarian; they don't dance; caffeine is frowned upon. They believe Jesus turned water into non alcoholic, grape juice. Hence the lack of all social activities in Angwin.

My walk began through the college campus. Little flags with inspirational messages are flown. One by Ellen White (considered a prophet by Adventists) got my attention: "Thinkers not mere reflector's of other men's thoughts". So these "thinkers" believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (even describing his own death by some miracle) and that Jesus is gonna return imminently. They have even picked the date of Christ's return a couple of times...leading to "the great disappointment" when Jesus stood us up. Yet, to be Adventist is to believe in the proximal return of Jesus.

All the buildings at PUC are cream colored. Tens of them. Saves on the need to buy another color of paint. The grounds are meticulous. There is no litter. All the hedges are trimmed and in proper geometric shapes. I did find one statue, despite the Adventists hatred of "graven images".

After touring the campus, I wandered down to the business center. I had planned on asking the clerk at the grocery store for a bottle of wine and a piece of steak (ever the social deviant). Alas, it is Friday night (the start of the Sabbath) and therefore, everything is closed. You cannot buy wine in Angwin. Or meat. Mail isn't delivered on Saturdays (must be the only place in the United States that has Sunday deliveries of mail). Friday (or Saturday) is not the day to visit Angwin. Then again, no day is the right day to visit Angwin.

It is hard to imagine 1500 students living in a town that has no restaurants. No place to buy alcohol. No fast food. No copies of alternative weekly magazines on newstands. No advertisements for alternative rock bands. Really, nothing of the bohemian culture to be seen anywhere.

If this is what Heaven is like, give me Hell.


Ian Woofenden said...

I'm at the Oregon Country Fair, which I think may be the biggest collection of creativity in one place on the planet.

I'm glad I brought my bike, so I can get a bit of riding in. Another time, I'd like to take the train down here and get to the fair on my bike, to not contribute to the acres and acres and acres of car parking.

I took a nice ride around the block today:
10.01 miles
Other data got accidentally zeroed because I carried my speedometer around in my pocket all day.

greentangle said...

I'd love to live in a vegetarian town and wouldn't really care about no dancing, caffeine, or alcohol (though I did have an apricot wheat brew today). But the god stuff and lack of veggie restaurants would be what would take the fun out of it for me.

Allan Stellar said...


I do enjoy your reports. Thanks!


I don't think you want to live in Angwin. That place is as repressed as any place that is run by an authoritarian religoin. Although I do admire their (and your) Vegan lifestyle.


Jackijo said...

I actually live without alcohol and coffee and would like to live without fast food and cut way back on the meat. Sounds like my life on the farm, although we drove to town for movies, an occasional restaurant meal, and had lots of dances at our church. And yes we had a lot of fun on the farm.

Perhaps instead of forcing this lifestyle on young people though, it would be better to show the consequence of overindulging in certain behaviors and teach love for all people no matter what behaviors they participate in. I think most people would agree that is what Christ taught, whether you believe he was divine or not.

Allan Stellar said...


I'm attracted to the Jesus who harvested on the Sabboth, turned water into real wine, ate fish and bread on the seashore, let a woman annoint his feet with expensive oil. In short, a Jesus who rejected the asceticism of John the Baptist..and indulged in pleasures now and then (while still hanging out with mostly peasants).

Or to change Emma Goldman's quote: "If I can't dance, I don't wanna be a part of your religion".

Anonymous said...

It's funny to hear your perspective from a walk through town. It's not surprising it didn't change, because you didn't get a chance to interact with wonder you were lonely! My grandma lived in Angwin, and as a child it was one of my favorite places to go. The neighborhood is super friendly. They get together regularly to prepare meals for the poorer folks. There are lovely hikes, and it's pretty awesome to go to the little airport and fly a cesna over the mountains and valleys and Lake Berryessa. I have lived in some of the largest the opportunity to take a break from the escape into the quiet, solitude of natural surroundings, without camera-weilding, autograph-soliciting crowds--that IS heaven for me.