There are times, usually when I’m doing something domestic, like cooking or baking, or lamenting my perpetually messy and dusty house, when I get a twinge of wanting to devote myself to wifey things. This gets even more perverted when I think about how much I would like to micro-manage our food; have a garden, do all of our baking, try to do everything that I can to make sure that what we eat is the best that it can be for us and the earth. /hippie
But these are things that, when I’m honest with myself, I just don’t have the time or, more importantly, the energy to take on. I can’t just pack every second that I’m not at work with housework. I need to relax and sit sometimes.
Anyway, I told my friend Angela the other day that I was having a Diane-Keaton-in-Baby-Boom moment because I had some down time at work and found myself searching real estate websites for farms for sale.
Turns out Angela sometimes has the same urges for a more scaled-down and self-sustaining existence, one in which we don’t rely on companies to do the right thing but instead grow our own food and whatnot, go to bed when it gets dark, wake up with the sun, work, retire to the porch, send the baby outside to play all day or do his chores.
One thing that I like about living in a city is that you are always coming face-to-face with the fact that being part of a society means relying on each other. From macro things like paying taxes so everyone can have roads and sidewalks and schools and fire departments, to more micro things like the bus driver coming on time so that I can get to work and help the people that I work with everyday.
But at the same time, I find myself longing to be away, quiet, and having some semblance of control over my environment. Plus, Pennsylvania has some really beautiful country.
I realize that this is highly idealized vision of such a life, that it’s incredibly hard, physical work that I’m just not used to. And I know that, realistically, I would get so sick of living in the middle of nowhere after a short time.
There’s also the not insignificant matter that I’m somewhat terrified of the country, having seen too many horror movies where psychotic, mutant axe murders lurk in the trees, waiting to chop me into bits and bake me in a casserole to be served to their inbred, mutant family.
I told my mom about my farming idea the other day and she immediately reminded me of the time we went to a family friend’s farm outside of Conneaut Lake and I got thoroughly freaked out by a group of kids who went to play in the corn field. At night. And there was some flood light or something that bounced their shadows along the barn and it looked so creepy that I remarked to someone, “Ten children went in, but only five will come out.” I sought refuge in the farmhouse, the walls of which were covered in deer heads. I’m not in any way opposed to hunting, but when you’re trying to calm down, decapitated deer aren’t the most soothing sight.
Another obstacle to my rural fantasies is my incredibly sensitive skin, which achieved some kind of notoriety this past weekend by getting horrifically burnt while I was firmly in the shade of a wooden structure. It took a few hours to really develop, but on Saturday night, the husband came in late from a bachelor party (which did not include strippers but instead consisted of poker, cigars, domestic beer, firing guns, and watching Ultimate Fighting, aka The Most Dude Agenda Ever) to find me half naked in bed, an alarming shade of red, covered in damp rags and making some kind of, “Ehhhhhhhh,” sound. He couldn’t wrap his head around my ability to get burned under those circumstances and has since teased me at every opportunity. Last night, for example, on our way to the movies, he asked me if I had sunblock on. “That projector gets pretty bright, man.”
(Aside: the weekend before last I managed to get extremely drunk from three beers. I feel like all of my defenses are failing me.)
The final big obstacle to my farm-to-be is that the husband has absolutely no interest in moving out of the city. We either split up and I forge ahead on my own or I drag him out there and just let the axe murders behind my house know when he’s whining about the lack of sidewalks and public transit.