too many words by laura lemay

Living in the mountains

Someone on the internet asked me:

Hmmm. Laura ‘n Eric, right? Howdy. What are you guys working on these days, respectively?

Well, like many silicon valley nerd power couples, which we’re not because we haven’t lived in Palo Alto for more than two years, we’ve moved to the mountains. No longer confronted with the difficult chioce every morning of trying to decide just WHICH suburban foofoo cafe/bistro/gallery will provide us with our morning cup of double-tall-half-skim-decaf-latte-americano, we have instead occupied ourselves with more important pursuits.

My current schedule these days involves getting up early and threshing the grain for the morning meal (moving to the mountains has brought out my inner Martha Stewart. However, my inner Martha Stewart is just as irritating as the real Martha Stewart, so I figure it’s only a matter of time before I give up, eviscerate my inner Martha Stewart and return to being the lazy sullen writer/programmer/nerd that I am at heart and spending all my time sitting in front of a computer, thereby negating any effect of actually moving to the mountains).

Anyhow, I am occasionally interrupted in my threshing by encroaching wildlife, but so far have sustained no injury chasing the ruminants from my lawn. The more predatory forms of wildlife have so far shown no aggression beyond peeing profusely on the wall (are we supposed to pee on the other side? I’m not sure how that works), so so far, so good.

The remainder of my the day appears to involve watching PG&E commit horrible acts of vandalism to the trees on my property, learning the proper mountain conversational topics (“goddamn insane highway 17 drivers…”, “goddamn county guvment regulations…” and, of course, “goddamn flatlanders coming up here and ruining everything…”) and arguing with the propane company. Oh, and staring out the window wondering when the rain is going to stop.

Eric, in turn, has befriended the maniacal part-time tree-trimmer next door (motto: “if it’ll kill me, I’ll do it”). Today they spent the morning comparing new chainsaws, and given that Eric returned in a good humor, I expect that his new chainsaw was manly enough to pass muster. So we’re OK for at least the next couple of months.

In moving to the mountains Eric also gets to commute into the flats, which means he has also become well aquainted with the social system involved in driving up and down the road, where you’re expected to pull over for drivers faster than you, unless you’re A. Driving an expensive shiny sport utility vehicle, B. Driving a really large truck at 15 mph in the middle of the road, or C. Driving under the influence of being Legally Dead. (I must keep reminding myself at these times that my tax dollars pay for California’s extremely progressive programs of affording driver’s licenses to all disabilities, including those that involve not actually showing any signs of life and giving off the faint stench of decay).

But overall we are adjusting nicely to life in the mountains. The quiet, the privacy, the air, the view, the quality of life is just so much better than in the flats, that we — HEY! GET OUT OF THERE! QUIT NIBBLING ON THAT! GODDAMMIT!