We've been looking at houses.
As it happens, I'm not entirely unhappy with where we live. We have too much shit --a never ending stream of objects of limited function and aesthetic value enter the house regularly where they lie in piles, rot and gather dust. Occasionally, they wind up in boxes where they continue to rest in peace, barely remembered and seldom used.
Of course, paying rent in and of itself sucks. It's consumerist truism: You never get rich renting as long as you're giving your money to somebody else. Over the last four and a half years, we've given our landlord something like $30,000 dollars --slightly more than what we've paid for daycare. So, I don't object to not giving the landlord any more money. It's good business sense and my wife talks about wanting peace, about wanting a place of her own, about needing that kind of ownership.
Mostly, she means living outside of the city, with few people around --the country. It speaks to her happier times, to her childhood, to her dreams even. I respect her needs. I understand them and I support them.
For me, it's different. When I've dreamed about becoming a "gentleman farmer," a guy who raises tomatoes and probably has a small still somewhere, it's like how other people dream of having a yacht. It's where I live after I'm a bestselling author and think I need seclusion.
Currently, I am not a bestselling author and being able to walk to a store or to work if my car breaks down weighs heavily on my mind --particularly given my sad automotive history. I pick piece of shit economy cars because I like small vehicles and hate paying for gas. Piece of shit economy cars tend to save me money on fuel, but fall apart because they're made of tinker toys.
For me, living off the grid is only attractive if the grid comes crashing down and barbarism is reinstated as an alternative to the First Baptist convention.
As I see it, the "things" you own end up owning you. My father told me that. I am sure he got that from a movie, but I understand what he meant and I've seen it.
You spend money to buy the car you want to get you to work then you spend money to keep it on the road so it can get you to work so you can keep it on the road. This is endless. The only way to break that particular circuit is to walk.
You spend money on property because if you do the government says it belongs to you. You fill it with furniture, books and appliances. You work and you work and you work some more just to maintain it, to keep it from falling in and at the end of it, you or your heirs end up having to sell it.
Part of this is my middle-aged complaint about being tied down and the craving to move along to the next thing, the next phase and finding that there might not be another step to take on this particular journey. I am a nomad who has never gone anywhere, a would-be explorer who didn't get picked for the trip or who didn't complete the necessary paperwork. I am a landlocked mariner with a raccoon tied around my neck. I am utterly ridiculous and I know it.
So, we're looking at houses. I think we've probably found one.