Upmanship

Jan and Pat arrived yesterday.  Great to see them again even tho they are our counter-culturalists nemesis – the urban, on-the-gridder who lives more feral than their neighbourhood raccoons.

Both Jan and Pat work for the government and have done so for years (Pat just retired).  Prima facie, they are urbanites.  They have a house not far off a bus route, a school at the end of their road and all the modern convenience of being ON the grid only a few miles from a Home Depot.  Mod con bliss, eh?

‘Cept for one thing: they live off their considerable piece of land!  And I mean like Dan’l Boone lived off the land.  They grow stuff, raise stuff and hunt and forage for stuff.  All the live long day!  These guys could live well for two years – entertaining others as they go – without ever having to go to the grocery store!  They have venison, crabmeat, prawns, salmon, chickens, oysters, clams, berries and that is just the frozen stuff.  They can and preserve as well.  And, of course, they grow everything – some of it from their greenhouse, others from their outdoor garden.  These guys are good – real good.  And, should they need a fancy bakery for some once-in-a-hundred-year freak event, they are a five minute commute away.

It is hard to crow about one’s rural lifestyle compared to them.  And it is even harder to put down the cul-de-sac.  They are doing both well and are experts at it all.  When Jan or Pat talks, we listen.

On another matter: a couple of years ago, a few trees blew down and fell on the local parking lot skewering and squishing a few cars in the process.  Ours was one of them.  Since replaced.  But the experience has left a mental car scar.  I now look at trees near parking lots and try to predict where they might fall.  And then park elsewhere.  It’s an odd mini phobia but I can’t deny it.

And there is one threatening at the parking lot again.  To be fair, it was there two years ago but it has only loomed into my consciousness lately.  It has to come down.  The local community is heating up their satellite connections discussing the matter and we are just a few e-mails away from striking a committee.  Then, after a few meetings where liability will be discussed ad nauseam (without the faintest idea of what the liability really is) we’ll ‘move’ to contact the various ‘authorities’ asking them to do the right thing but will lose patience waiting for a reply.  They never reply except to say No, anyway.  Eventually, some poor sap will take his chain saw and do it in the rain in December.  No official will ever know.  Or care.  It’s how we do things out here.  Ironically, it is a pretty efficient process.  We rarely wait longer than six months and, as we all know, six months is a blink in time when committees and government are involved.  Ours is a can-and-will-do community.

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