The Pacific Northwest

If I could just uproot my life and move somewhere new, I think I’d pick the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never been there, so I’m really just relying on the bits and pieces of information that I’ve picked up through media and popular culture. And yes, I have to admit that, a lot of what I’m thinking of in my head is probably mostly just my imagination. Like maybe I saw a picture of a forest somewhere in Washington State and I thought, yeah, that’s what I want, that’s the life for me.


And from there I kind of just built up what it would be like to live there, right in the middle of that forest. I’d have a cabin, something you’d definitely describe as rustic, but with all of the modern conveniences that I’m used to living with here in New York. I’m picturing like a giant octagon shaped log-cabin, a big open space with a lofted second floor. A giant kitchen to the side with built-in restaurant quality appliances.

Where would I get my food from? Because I don’t want to live near any cities or towns. I’d have to own a pickup truck, something at least twenty years old, over two hundred thousand miles would be perfect. But it’s one of those trucks that’s built to last forever, and so aside from regular maintenance, oil changes and tire rotations and whatever, I really won’t have to do anything in terms of upkeep. I’ll just keep driving and it’ll get more and more comfortable each time I take that once a week, hour-long drive into town to stock up on groceries.

And obviously I’ll have a giant beard, what with all of that forest living and everything, so when I do emerge from my solitude to buy Pop-Tarts or Marshmallow Fluff at that grocery store, it’ll be a shock, to everyone in town, to me, like wow, I’m totally living off the grid here, I’m really in my own world. But it’ll be cool. This grocery store is going to be a really small one, and right by the only checkout, there’s a small counter where you can have a cup of coffee and a sandwich or something.

It’s the only face-to-face contact I’ll have with anybody, really, not that you’d be able to tell. All of us mountain-men, we’d all get together at that counter, drinking coffee, telling stories about our composting toilets or the family of grizzly bears that’s been threatening to circle the house for the past few days.

This grocery store/coffee shop town is going to be one of those small towns that’s so small, nobody really lives in it. In fact, the only reason there’s a grocery store in the first place is to support the thriving but disconnected association of people that live deep in the forest, totally isolated from even their closest neighbors. Maybe it’s not a town at all, maybe it’s just this one guy, he’s living all by himself, but for whatever reason he started the grocery store. Maybe he saw the demand.

Maybe it’s getting to him, what started out as an easy way to make a living, supplying peanut butter and toilet paper to all of the other solitary aficionados living scattered throughout the local wilderness, it’s turned into a full-time job, stocking the shelves, keeping track of inventory. He needed to hire some help, and what started out as the guy living half an hour out west coming around every other day to help put price tags on the merchandise with an old-fashioned price tag gun, it’s turned into a full-blown employer-employee relationship, and now his family is moving their cabin fifteen minutes closer to save money on the now-daily commute. Pretty soon he’s going to be hinting at health insurance and paid sick leave.

So no, they’re going co-op. Which is fine, because to be perfectly honest, things were getting a little too organized. It’ll be a good time to get back to basics, start my own little farm out behind the cabin. Yes, I’ll still have high-speed Internet, OK, like I said, my place is going to be totally modern inside, only rustic in appearance. And so I’ll have the computer, right, the pool table, the indoor/outdoor meat smoker. But aside from the once every two years that the telecommunications company drives out to my house to upgrade my modem, that’ll be it. Just me and Mother Nature.

And maybe I’ll join that co-op eventually. I don’t have anything against a little bit of planning here and there. Really, I just didn’t want to have to suffer through the growing pains natural to any upstart organizations, those boring meetings where someone is like, “What are we going to call our co-op?” and then there’s like half an hour of pointless debate. I’ll just show up, you tell me where to stock the Crest White Strips, I’ll stock them there, fine, that’s my contribution, can I have my groceries now? Can I go over to the lunch counter and have a cup of coffee?

Because that’s all I really need in life, just the great outdoors, a hot cup of coffee, my own private cabin, and the Internet. That’s it.