The ‘bourgie hippie’ category

Chop Wood, Carry Water

June 14th, 2017

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I now live in a place where the internet can haphazardly go down, for no reason, and they have to send a guy out to fix it, but that one guy can’t come until tomorrow night. This is very quaint. It’s also pretty frustrating when one relies on the internet to make a living.

Everything about moving to the country is designed to make you more of a Buddhist. Jon went into town yesterday to go to the hardware store and the co-op. He came all the way home, up the 2-mile dirt road we live on, only to realize he forgot to do one thing.  He turned around and drove back into town. He is good at this. 

I’m not totally wired for it. I can be a little Type A. I am trying to embrace the slower pace of life here, but being productive is my raison d’etre; not being able to check things off my list makes me twitchy. And so often, not just because I live in the country now, but because I have twin toddlers who really, really need me, like, a lot, I find myself incapacitated in terms of getting things done.

I may feel a strong internal pressure to unload the dishwasher and wipe down the counter, but Phoebe’s impulse to be held and cuddled is much stronger. I might have five deadlines looming today and anxiety-driven writer’s block threatening, but it doesn’t matter. My internet is simply not going to work today. A watched modem never transmits.

We went into town so that I could use the internet connection at the library and Jon could open a bank account and return the trailer trash curtain rods to Ace Hardware that I had had a hissy fit about. Staring at my iCal in the car, I panicked about the colored blocks, desperately trying to reorganize them as the available space diminished with each passing moment. At the library, I could feel myself getting anxious and impatient as the kindly librarian sloooooooowly explained to me the rules of using the private rooms upstairs. I had a client call just minutes away, and we both knew I was going to sneak my iced coffee in. 

From that private room perched high above the open floor plan I stood witness to the colorful assortment of characters that frequents the Brattleboro public library. You’ve got your rehab day-release patients, your be-dreaded jam-band enthusiasts, your garden-variety hippies, your fringe-dwelling hillbillies, and, of course, your lifer townies. After living in ever-so-white and utterly vanilla Sandy, Utah, for the past three years, the technicolor is refreshing.

I called one of my technology clients in the Bay Area, trying to time my hmmmmms and  I sees and oh yes I get its so that it would seem I was actually listening. I have been doing this long enough that I can tell when someone is geeksplaining something I could easily figure out from their website. I puttered through that call, sent a few basic emails, and managed to actually bill for like a half hour of time.

Then I went for a walk down Main Street. It occurred to me that Jon wouldn’t be able to find me because his phone gets no reception in town. But that didn’t turn out to be a problem. He saw me through the bank window and came running out to flag me down. Brattleboro is truly a town with a Main Street.

I’m behind on work. I’m sure clients will be annoyed. I am nervous about money, having spent a fortune on the move. None of our stuff has arrived yet. And our internet is still down. 

On the other hand, as I write this, I hear the breeze rustling through the birch trees in my yard (and the poison ivy, probably). My mom made a strawberry rhubarb crisp—because strawberries and rhubarb share a brief and glorious season in ever New England summer. Our stuff will probably arrive this week. And tomorrow I get to wake up at 5:45 and chop wood, carry water all over again. Not the worst life, for a half-assed Buddhist.

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