First of a gazillion summer guests this year came this weekend. ‘Gridders’. They were great. We had a good time, laughed a lot and still got a few things done. Plus Sal made meals worthy of a Michelin review. I’d give her four stars. Five if she regularly read my blog. It was extremely civilized.
They enjoy coming here (I am assuming since it was their fourth time). And they marvel at the hummingbirds, lovely weather and, of course, the view. Coming and going by boat just adds to the picture and the whole experience for them and many others borders on more of an adventure than just a visit. They feel as if they have gone feral and off-the-grid, too. Ooooh, it is kinda exciting….
But comfortably so. Running water, hot showers, plenty of food and wine, nice beds, no real danger, no major discomfort. This is an easy place to be off-the-grid and, because of that, not always a true ‘feral’ experience. But, still, an experience.
Don’t get me wrong. I have little interest in a true feral/wild/dangerous experience either but, of course, when you live in the forest all the time, true feral experiences sometimes occur. Lying with dogs = fleas. Living with wolves = sometimes a feral experience.
None of this feral adventure is a daily or even weekly occurrence, mind you. If it was, I’d move back to the city. No, we get the feral experience in an in-your-frightened-face-kinda way about three times a year. And trust me, that is more than enough. You are in a heavily laden small boat and caught out in a storm, you have to chainsaw something that wants to fall on you, a fire breaks out, someone gets injured……..these are the times when living off the grid seems like it might sometimes be a bridge or a logging road too far. Danger stalks, to be sure, but not that often.
And, typically the danger is of the ‘I can-manage-it’ kind. Just a bit of a rush is all.
Some loon in Texas just killed a person and wounded five others in a random shooting spree while driving around. A soldier was beheaded in London by two Islam extremists wielding machetes. I personally wouldn’t spend any amount of time in Surrey without watching over my shoulder and Langley is getting just as bad. Danger in the city is of the random-shooting type. I think it is scary.
But here’s the point: I know that I am likely going to face a dicey situation once, twice or maybe three times a year. The only part of that danger that gives me comfort is that I know that little of it – if any (barring a hungry cougar) – is intended to hurt me. The storm may be dangerous but it is not personal. And my danger rarely, if ever, comes with intent on two feet.
Living in the city is a bit different. In the city, they have railings and safety lights and alarms and fire-doors and security guards and rules, regulations and cops and authority figures to enforce it all. In the city they have managed to minimize the benign, natural, impersonal, accidental dangers considerably. WorkSafe BC actually makes a statement in their propaganda that all accidents are preventable. The city seems intent on making you safe.
So, why are my survival instincts on ultra-high alert there?
I mean, seriously……………the city is supposed to be the pinnacle of modern civilization. It is supposed to be the ‘safe’ place to live. Urban life is about control and safety and resources and response teams. You got your ‘first responders’, your ‘medical industry’ and your ‘security industry’ and your ‘enforcement industry’ not to mention insurance and legal and political industries – all intended to keep order and safety and hygiene and management standards.
And kids get snatched with increasing frequency. People murdered. Hundreds lost to drugs. Car accidents that maim and kill. And, face it, you are likely to catch a dangerous, can’t-get-rid-of-it ‘bug’ if you go to the hospital. You have to be more and more careful of strangers. You lock your doors. You carry ‘passes’ and codes and keys to get from A to B. In short, city folks have assimilated a level of fear and caution into their every day. All day.
And it is still not enough.
I have come to the conclusion that it is the city that is the most dangerous by far. It is the visit to the city that is the extreme adventure. Out here, in the wilds, in the storms, amongst the cougars and the bears? With the axe and the chainsaws……? It’s a piece of cake by comparison.
Go ahead, you take the cul-de-sac, you take public transit, you live amongst the civilized. Follow those rules. Take Manhattan. Take Berlin.
I’ll take the wolves.