I opened my door and saw a huddled form working on a project in my back yard. He was shaving a rock and had dragged a small pile of asphalt into the yard. Oh no, the loonies are here!
“Hey, get out of here!” I said, standing halfway behind my door. “Go!”
“It’s Jay’s place,” he said.
“No, there’s no Jay,” I said. “Get out of here!”
He calmly put his shoes back on, gathered up his tools, and turned to the gate.
“Jay Leno,” he said. “It’s Jay’s place.”
“There’s no Jay Leno here. Now go.” But I had to wonder. This was a couple months ago when I was writing bad jokes and was kind of excited about performing comedy after doing a stand-up gig at ‘The Church’ in Grants Pass, Oregon.
He left, leaving the gate open, and I thought, “And I sold my country place? My sanctuary from the loonies and drug addicts who are dripping off the highway, down the hill, and into my back yard?”
I looked at my flimsy door. A nine-year-old could break the glass, reach in, and unlock it. I’ve never had a gun or a dog so I bought some pepper spray, rigged up a way to latch the gate from inside, and installed a kick-ass metal security door. None of that would stop the determined fence-climber or house-breaker but it does feel good having some defense from the casual trespasser.
(Last night at dinner here in Mexico all three of my friends said that they have been broken into. “Crystal,” one said. The international scourge?)
* * *
Traveling across the country I see a whole lot of places I wouldn’t want to live: dirty cities, crowded suburbs, beat-up shacks on nasty little roads in wind-blown towns with lonely bushes trying to survive in the desert.
Out here on Interstate 10 any of these desolate scenarios could have been amazing with a sweet wife, wonderful kids, and a satisfying career but what were the chances of that happening? Most likely it would have been a meaningless life in a stark hellhole, which might be how most people live. (Like the Trumpers in their shit-hole towns who don’t believe the election results, the angry ones who swallow the lies spewed from their corrupt cult leader.)
It’s no wonder the normals turn to meth heroin pills TV internet sugar fat salt and facebook: fake news fake boobs fake boners fake lives.
It was pretty lucky living the semi-adventurous life of a modern-day outlaw for forty years in the pristine Mendo hills. Yes, some of us became victims at the end of lonely dirt roads but most did pretty well in the grow flow. The casualties are finally grasping that the good times are over and they better find some dogs to walk, dishes to wash, or some old lady’s ass to wipe, possibly my mother’s.
The leftover freaks and weirdos cheat steal scam scheme and dance our silly heads off in a cloud of marijuana smoke in our alternative universe far from the deadly fumes of civilization, resisting the pull of normalcy.