Silvia’s car breaks down, forcing the traveling siblings to find an auto body shop. Luckily, this happens as they are near the city of Bakersfield, a freeway-filled place with no shortage of automobile services. About a hundred miles north of Los Angeles, this sprawling city has a population of over 450,000. “Bakersfield…was like a perfect grid with houses that all looked like each other and strip malls.” They find a Chinese restaurant in one such strip mall and as Cosmo sits waiting for his shrimp fried rice to arrive, he contemplates the idea of returning to his job and his life in Philadelphia. A part of him doesn’t want to go back and the other part of him doesn’t want to go forward. In between represents a place without commitments, responsibilities or the daily grind. “He’d stay in between too but reality kept crashing in like some drunken intruder with its bills and rents and jobs.”
Silvia recognizes his desire to stay in between because she, herself, has had this same desire. She tells him about when she was in the process of relocating and didn’t want to arrive at her destination for fear that her fantasies about the place wouldn’t meet up to the reality of the place. Again, Cosmo warns her of the detriments of her rushing: “Maybe all that rushing is part of the problem.” As she considers this, she decides to call her friend in Santa Cruz and stop there for a visit. Although she sees this as her slowing down, Cosmo realizes that it’s only a way to elongate the trip. Either way, he’s happy as another stop along the way translates as an extension of the trip and thereby, an extension of his time in between.