Updated: Aug 20
HOW SPLITTING TO THE COUNTRY GOT ME TO STOP YELLING AT CARS.....
I honestly feel like a new woman out here.
I moved "officially" in the last days of December 2020- as-in the moving van and the vacating of the old apartment- but we started living here in August. Had the Airstream towed up this rocky road in July.
Sold the old place just yesterday.
I had a moment when we first had "really" moved here. Our city apartment was cleared out, all our worldly possessions in a storage unit somewhere... just me, my husband, my dog, and 40 acres bordering on wilderness on two sides.
I had to go to town, just for some groceries and random things you need - things you used to be able to grab at the corner store or the wallgreens in ten minutes time- I knew it was going to take me a good 40 minutes to get to the place I needed to go, another 30 to meander around the slow paced store, and another hour at the grocery store, another 15 minutes getting the propane and the gas for the generators, and another 40 back home (discounting the stop at the post office to grab our week's worth of mail).
I set out on the drive, and the sun was shining as it ususally does, the mountains were frosted with a little snow in the high places, and in the low shadowy places some of the snow from around New Year's still lingered.
I wasn't in traffic, there is no traffic. I wasn't trying to consider my route to avoid traffic, and there's only one route. I wasn't worried about parking, because you just pull into whatever of the hundreds of open parking spaces and saunter up to the store entrance.
And there was snow on the dirt road.
I don't know how it happened, but I laughed out loud (no, really I swear I did) because I could not believe how happy I was.
I said, "I live here now!" With a big ol smile stretching my face in two. And I fucking cried.
Yeah, I know. You want me to be gritty, don't you? You want me to say I freaked out because I made a wrong decision moving here, don't you? Because, what, is confusion good writing?
Fuck off. You dramatic douchebags!
I was so happy I cried. Because for some reason, seasons and dirt and mountains and beautful views on a 40 minute drive into town and driving extra slow to take it all in makes me really, really happy.
The cars in town do tend to drive a little fast, sometimes.
But at the drive thru window, everyone calls me "friend" or engages in intercom banter, because drive times don't matter, because nobody is here.
When I pull up to the taco bell drive thru, sometimes I say "season's eatings!"
They like it because I don't throw fits or throw the sauce packets the rats ate back in their faces.
I went to get my car repaired, because the rats ate the engine.
The damage was significant, but- learning curve- you have to keep your hood up at night so the rats don't think of your warm engine as a vacation home.
The woman at the desk, after giving me the diagnosis, said, "you new here?"
I laughed and said, "yeah from San Francisco." She said, "It's a lot slower here."
I freaked out with emphatic excitement and said "I KNOW! IT'S SO WONDERFUL!"
and then I realized I should have expressed that emphatic agreement in a lower tone.
LMAO she forgave me.
When we talked with the guy who dragged our trailer up the mountain, he said he came here 30 years ago from the LA area- and since then, he has smiled every day.
At the time, I thought, "how is this possible?"
As a person who deals with horrifying depression I was like, fuckin no way, but at least I'll be less stressed.
BUT this guy was not lying.
I have had days, up here, with crippling depression. Wrapped up on the airstream sofa just clutching my knees and bowing my head, feeling really strangely hopeless, even though that day was no different than the last two days- that's how bipolar works, outside circumstances don't cause it, it's just there- but, even if I was confused, sad, out of my mind into chaotic delusions of unworthiness and helpnessness and hopelessness, I still had ONE moment that day where... I looked at my husband, and felt grateful that I have him to live this life with, this off grid life with- grateful that he was so kind, so patient, so willing to learn new ways of living, so willing to hike with me, joke with me, cook dinner with me every night- I smiled.
And I smiled when I saw my dog, grinning ear to ear as he does, giving a little whoop and staring at me, because he could tell that I was feeling shit, and wanted to cheer me up- I smiled.
And I smiled when I looked at the sky- even if it was with a melancholic wish to be a bird, or to escape humanity somehow, or to be a color instead of a woman, it was beautiful- so I smiled.
I'm getting an art studio built, eventually.
It was supposed to have happened at the beginning of this month, but I have a feeling it will be another month or so along till it actually gets built.
The reason being that people out here take their time, they don't scurry along at breakneck speeds tying to be efficient. They don't multitask. They do the thing they showed up to do, they do it well, they take breaks, they enjoy the view, they allow for some indulgence.
I mean they work hard, there's no question.
But I think that they figured out that the solution to working hard, it's to not be insane greedy maniacal fuckwads who think time is money, who bust balls and expect 5 thousand things to get done in an hour. They might bust balls in terms of quality of experience, though.
It's taken a little longer than we thought to get the guys out here to fix our roads, so that they can come in here with a concrete truck and pour a foundation for my studio and for our solar array, and so that a giant well-drilling rig can get in here and get us the water access we need. It's taken some time. But I'll tell you-
every person I've met here has one commonality- they live here because they LOVE it here.
They say up in the mountains where we are, it's hard to get guys to come do work so remote. But every one of em we've talked to says, "It'll cost you a little more for us to come out here, but it's my greatest pleasure to work in a place like this."
We have Trump people, democrat people, gun slingers, ranchers, hippies, transplants, and people who have grown up here or lived way out here for 50 years.
Every damn one of them is friendly.
I mean, hell, even when the sirens occasionally sound in town on the highway,
CARS ACTUALLY PULL OVER- even if there's nobody else on the road.
I have learned to pull over. (forgot about the literal nature of that law in the city.)
And sure, people in San Francisco generally are all there because they love san francisco.
But what do they love about it?
Do they love their fancy new apartment? Or the upscale restaurants? Or the convenience of uber? Do they love the shows, the scenes, the diversity, the freedom? And how?
Because whenever you're a little lazy at the green light, they all still honk at you.
Whenever they're not taken care of with incredible speed at the post office, they will probably still yell at the clerk. If you're a woman and they're a man, they'll probably look you over whether they say they respect you or not. Even in sweat pants. And if you wear what I wear, well god, people will still look atchya, but here they'll actually compliment you (aka bring attention to the fact that they're interested in your getup and ask questions about it, rather than just staring in what anyone could only assume to be judgment). People here call you sweetheart, and they mean it- and then they're sarcastic with you in the same sentence as they're genuine with you. Small talk means people are curious- if they don's small talk you, the don't want to talk to you.
The only thing people here universally dislike, is people who buy up cheap housing and turn the things into air bnb's. Yucca isn't a real rich community. There's a lot of empty storefronts here from covid AND before that. It's tourism, food, that's it.
The people who really live here or grew up here and want to stay here are pissed off because rich so-called "LA people" are coming and scooping up the real estate that would best serve the community as rentals and single family homes to just dwell in, and turning them into "la people" fancy upscale air bnb's. There isn't much argument against this, except the fact that it's not just "LA people" it's all manner of people.
But anyway, they dislike the land-grab aspect of people who purchase to profit vs people who just fucking like it here.
Lucky for me, I don't like strangers coming to stay with me, nor do I like ANYONE knowing where my house (aka trailer) is located.
Other'n'that, everyone is decent.
People talk to you if they like you,
people love to live where they live,
people value artistry, "god" or whatever that is to them,
they value history and respect,
they value fairness,
and good lord, there is much less honking of horns in this town.
I hear a horn honk every three weeks.
I've lost my road rage,
I cruise real slow in my vehicle,
I hike and gaze open-mouthed at cougar prints, eagles,
I scream at rattlesnakes and then I put them in buckets to stash them in the wilderness land (never come back, snake, I love you)
I eat more steak than I ever have in my life (3x this week, WTAF)
I have fewer options of where to purchase things, and that makes me feel less anxious,
I live off a long dirt road that would pop your tire,
There is snow,
the sunsets are out-of this-world,
I can hike anywhere I want and nobody will cross my path -
and I've been adopting patience in waiting for the slow, beautiful culture of Vucca Valley and Pioneertown to build my art studio so I can get back to physical artwork.
That's why I don't yell at cars anymore.