The sudden, unexpected, and potentially dangerous deterioration of my eyes has put the question of “Where to live out the rest of our lives” squarely back on the table. In a very real way, this is the ultimate problem of Urban Survival: Where to live to ameliorate as many risks as possible.
If terrible times ever come to America, would it be better to live out ones final years in a rural setting where there is still some game, but also a lot of neighbors? Within as gallon or two of diesel are lots of places where a cow could be purchased, table ready or for milking, so that’s something that wouldn’t be available in the city.
Ditto the rural Texan attitude toward strangers poking around. You don’t often hear about trouble in the outback unless it’s a family feud or some of the in-city druggies have taken a wrong turn. Warning shots out here tend not to be repeated and the key phrase “I feared for my life” seems to work if there’s stranger on your land and especially if armed or in your home.
Not that Texas isn’t full of hospitable folks; but don’t come uninvited. People here still pretty much keep to themselves. Given what passes as “news” in the Big City, it’s no wonder. Does anyone care that Lindsay Lohan is “looking at Islam?” No on our block – which takes about 12 miles to circumnavigate.
On the other hand, as multiple trips to Tyler, Texas, 45-miles up the road have pointed out, there are some damn-fine things about cities of the 100,000 and up size; namely great healthcare and skilled doctors.
The kind of issue I have might be a once-a-year, or two, locally. But in Tyler it’s a once a week or more often event. Score one for the city.
We try to make decisions based on our Seven Major Systems of Life: Food, Shelter, Transportation, Energy, Environment, Communications, and Finance.
Food is a mixed bag, in that there is nothing as good as fresh veggies from the garden – if you remembered to put one in – which we haven’t so far this year. A hydroponic tomato plant or three will about do it, though it will be hard to break-even on those.
Jumping off the tractor (setting off the eye woes) momentarily has soured me on working the land hard.
Shelter? That’s a lot tougher problem. I’ve been saving up a picture of our “limbed up” trees along the driveway for a morning like this one. Thanks to my buddy from the Northwest, it looks absolutely state park-like around here:
I don’t think there has been an afternoon go by in the last month that Elaine and I haven’t sat in the sun porch and looked out at the view of the front yard (similar to this) and asked “How could living in a city improve on this?”
Transportation in the Outback sucks. My plans to run for County Commissioner have hit the rocks, though. The way Texas law is set up, it’s almost impossible for someone not in bed with the corporate duopoly to get elected. Because there is a run-off election in May, I would have less than 30 days to collection signatures for an independent run. With a minimum of 143 signatures needed, in a spread out area like this, and with a requirement that people can’t have voted in the primary or run-off, it’s like trying to get the dead to sign and this ain’t Cook County.
As a result, we still have the washboard, pot-hole roads and no one in county government seems to give a rip. The gravel pit operator whose heavy trucks tore things up has moved on and the county is stiffing the permanent residents with the tab, which will likely run $160,000 in materials to begin to set things right.
In the meantime, the old Lexus will keep getting older. Elaine would like something newer, but the fact is the Made in Japan 2005 is just getting broken in at 112,000 miles. It’s the principle, though, damn it.
Thursday there was an answer of sorts on the transportation front: It’s almost an hour into town and back. So if we had a home on a single level and shopping was closer, then yes there would be some convenience.
Energy is no problem out here. We have a backup from the grid-interactive solar system which keeps the bills modest. And our local utility (Trinity Valley Electric Co-op) has been easy to work with on most things. I am still disappointed with their installation of a “smart” meter, but that’s just part of the whole “creeping currents of Death” thing that has been spreading since the arrival of 60 Cycle Alternating Current. OK, now it’s Hertz, which is oxymoronic because RF exposure hurts…if you follow.
My visiting friend remarked on several occasions during his visit how darn peaceful it is out here in the country. We can only get a bar, or two, on cell phones, if we walk the property like a couple of old prospectors looking for bars instead of gold. So that’s a plus, too.
Environment in general is…well, go back and look at the picture. We have more trees and fun stuff to do than you can imagine. I may call the Texas Game Department and ask them to stock from of the bigger pot holes on the neglected County Road. A couple of hundred bass and some croppy ought to do the trick.
Communications is great. The local ham radio club www.pacarc.org is a heads-up group of genuinely nice folks. If someone would just come along and buy the airplane (which is listed in Trade-a-Plane) then we could get back to spending more time on the air and working on equipment.
Finance? Well, here’s where things get to be an interesting question.
I was dead-to-nuts right about the outlook for the economy and the markets when I said back in January that the market would bottom in February and we should be at new all-time highs in May.
The track from here is much less clear, however.
We will get into it more this weekend on the Peoplenomics side, but I’m currently modeling three scenarios and at some point, one of them will pop and we will know which track life will follow.
The hell of making “moving while old” decisions is there’s not a lot of time or money for do-overs and I sure like one smart move instead of three dumb ones and then the right one I should have made in the first place.
But that’s how Life works, I suppose.
/Have a great weekend and remember weekends are when we have a chance to work for ourselves without “Paying a cut to The Man…” So make the most of it and we’ll re-group Monday…
Write when you get rich,