Monday, September 26, 2011

Quietly Going Crazy in Deep Rural America

Have I gone crazy, or what?

Living out here on a gravel road in deep rural America, I've been following the financial news online lately. Greece, Europe, etc. This is the kind of stuff I've been following, with mild interest, for some time now. But just this morning I kicked into gear, in my own small way, for the very first time.

I made the long drive in to town to do my usual grocery shopping this morning. And I picked up a lot of extra groceries. About $100 of extra canned soup, canned vegetables, the kind of food I could eat out of the can if I were without power. Picked up other supplies as well: extra batteries, enough old fashioned light bulbs that I wondered if I might be asked about it.

I've got some cupboards in the back of my house, by the washer and dryer, largely empty. Every time I make a trip in to town from now on, I'm going to pick up some extra supplies, and stash them in those cupboards.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but if so all it'll cost me is a few hundred dollars of extra canned goods and other miscellaneous useful items stored in the back hallway. Cheap insurance, just in case the shit hits the fan.

And if the shit doesn't hit the fan, I can always draw down my supplies, eating them at my leisure.

Meanwhile this afternoon I've been entertaining myself by hunting around and digging out my farmer matches, spare flashlight, sewing kit, folding and fixed-blade knives, and water bottle with filter. Hey, if nothing else it's a way to spend a rainy afternoon.

And I've even been pondering on the fact that most of my neighbors, who unlike me have lived here all their lives, are heavily armed, and what's more they know how to use their guns. I myself don't own a gun, and never have. But if the shit ever does hit the fan, and any troublemakers drift out here from the big city, they wouldn't dare come poking around my place. If they did, they'd be playing Russian roulette.

Having grown up as a good sane moderate middle class person, I can hardly believe I'm even typing this, much less that this morning something clicked inside me and I went and got triple my usual groceries. Nonetheless, if things head south and things get ugly a while, maybe I'll be glad for what I did. :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Behaviors Never Celebrated in Public

This being the Internet, I can find people who offer apologies and excuses for nearly any form of outrageous poor behavior.

But I notice I've never yet seen people openly and publicly celebrating certain forms of behavior as behaviors in which they themselves have engaged, and "proud of it!"

I've never yet seen anyone bragging about how they spread malicious gossip about a neighbor or a co-worker behind that person's back.

I've never yet seen anyone celebrating their own cheap tawdry mean-spiritedness.

I've never yet seen anyone boasting of lying and cheating and betraying a loyal friend.

I've never yet seen anyone gloating over how they inflicted intentional hurt and twisted the knife in their neighbor's ribs, always with bland deniability, always just a step beyond the reach of justice.

People do these things all the time, blatantly, flagrantly. And they're often shameless and unrepentant in public. But not shameless enough to boast openly of having engaged in such behavior. No, on some level they still realize that they deserve the burning molten lava of judgment raining down on their evil heads. Or if they don't even feel sorry for their sickening behavior, at least they know better than to brag of it openly. They know better than to cry "Look at me! Look at what I've done!"

I for one refuse to condone such folk. I mean, I have a life to live, I can't devote the lion's share of my energy to hounding them and bringing them to bay and then repaying them in cold iron as their evil behavior so richly merits. I leave that up to the righteous judgment of a just God, on a day when the sun will smolder like a dimly glowering coal in a burnt umber sky.

But in the meanwhile, I refuse to pretend that black is white. I refuse to gladhand and backslap the haters in our midst. I decline to condone those who willfully make themselves channels and conduits for an unbridled and shameless evil, at the expense of their innocent fellow man.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bad Teeth

I'm thankful for modern dentistry, because without it, my middle-aged teeth (such of them as remained) would be in hopeless shape. I inherited bad teeth from my father. But thanks to the dentist, my teeth are quite functional-- thanks to the dentist, that is, and also to a piece of bridgework, four crowns, and more fillings than I could possibly count.

One odd feature of the remote rural area where I live is that many people, and many of them far younger than I, have appallingly bad teeth. I know plenty of people around here, in their fifties, in their forties, and even younger, who have gap-toothed smiles, missing teeth, rotting teeth. Some people (again, some of them younger than I) who have numerous missing or rotting teeth.

I can't figure it. To some degree it seems to be cultural, "Why bother?", a "class" thing, a lack of vanity. But I suspect also to a large degree it's a matter of finances. People around here are not wealthy, most of them, and would rather spend such spare cash as they have on a snowmobile or a pickup instead of dental work. And so they tear down the road with a mighty roar, and with several teeth missing.

I know one neighbor who had a number of bad teeth, and getting them fixed was financially beyond him. So he got all his teeth pulled instead. All his teeth, good or bad. A set of dentures, that he could afford.

Me, I'd rather have all my teeth, or a reasonable simulacrum thereof. I'm not wealthy either, but I make a reasonable living, I have no dependents and no debt, and overall I live simply, resisting the siren lure of snowmobiles and pickup trucks. So I am able to afford such dental care as I need. And so I have no appalling gaps in my smile.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wool Indian Blanket

Once again we come to that time of the year when I get out the old wool Indian blanket. And I have the windows open in the house. And after breakfast I lie here on the sofa, cup of coffee at hand, laptop computer running, and most of all the old wool Indian blanket covering me.

A cool breeze blowing in through open windows. Hot coffee. A streak of morning sunlight across the living room floor. And the warmth of a wool blanket, which frankly is unlike any other warmth on earth, though perhaps distantly related to the warmth from a wood burning cast iron stove.

No substitute for wool. Nothing quite like it. There are joys on earth, and then there are wool Indian blankets, as an early hint of fall tinges the air.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Return of Rod Dreher

I'm awakened from my relatively non-blogging torpor by the news, relayed by John E. over at Alexandria, that Rod Dreher has amicably parted ways with the John Templeton Foundation, and that Rod will be returning to blogging after Labor Day.

Longtime Dreher junky that I am, this is better news than I had any reason to hope for as the Labor Day weekend draws near. Back to my daily dose of Rod Dreher! Yes!!! :-)

I also wonder if my blog, ordinarily readerless and nigh traffickless, will also see a spike in visitors this holiday weekend. Because just about the only traffic this blog has ever seen, came from several posts I made, well ranked in Google, about Rod Dreher and the mysterious circumstances under which Templeton lowered the boom on Rod's previous blogging endeavor.

Meanwhile, best wishes to Rod in his new job, and his new blogging efforts. Welcome back, sir!

UPDATE: And I see earlier today Mr. Dreher tweeted: "Today I start at The American Conservative. Blog begins at on Tues."