I like to think of life as a magazine, a Time/Life-Line if you like. Mine has always seemed rather ordinary to me, because I am the prototypical, carpe diem kind of guy and just how exciting is a school teacher, anyway? If it seems like the right thing to do, then I do it. I am a product of my father in this regard. One of his life’s many slogans, was that of, “For two cents, I would...”(fill in the blank), whereupon Mama would fish the two metaphorical coins out of her apron, and thrust them in his direction. Immediately, we would be packing up the camping gear at Shady Oaks, and heading home, to enjoy the treat of seeing PT 109, the summer prior to JFK being assassinated.
Of the three calculated actions I ever took in my life, two were done in conjunction with other people. In 1974 I moved to the Bay Area, with two of my siblings and their respective spouses. We rented a four-bedroom house, and applied for admission at San Jose State. We used this home as a base of operations, while we began to scour Northern California for parcels of available land.
Eventually, after looking at opportunities within driving distance of San Francisco, two of my brothers, my parents, and I, each bought 20 acre parcels of land, up in Northern Mendocino County. We moved up to an off-the-grid lifestyle, which required that we forge every day of our lives for the basic necessities, before we could then consider the luxuries.
The third calculated action was the acquisition of my teaching credential to keep the two-room Wellspring Education Collective afloat, back in 1989. Whereas the original reason for getting the Credential was to prolong the lifespan of the little school, when local politics forced the closure of the school, I went to work for the Laytonville Unified School District in the middle school.
I set out to write a post this morning, substantiating my life-long belief that I live moment to moment, with little or no thought to the big picture, and I found that I was so far out in left field, that the game was over, and the teams gone home, before I figured out what was happening.
JT says I have had a more interesting life than hers, and I always protest. I say we're the same, only different. Maybe interesting is not the best word; maybe less predictable might be better. When the power system shut down the other morning, at 1:30, due to prolonged lack of enough sunlight to power the solar panels, I had to go out and start the generator. When the water abruptly ran out, due to lack of rain, I had to flip a valve on the tank up top to replenish our water, and when the temperature dropped below freezing, I had to start both wood stoves, but other than that, we have lived the same basic itinerary.
I taught for sixteen years, immersed myself in education and raising kids, and made my way to the present. She has worked sixteen years for the same district in Sebastopol, has raised her kids and now is looking toward the future, when she hopes to gain some more control over how she spends her time. I don’t see us as being that different, but then again, I can’t walk to the Starbucks to get a latte, up on Bell Springs Road, the way we did this morning, here in Sebasketball.
On the other hand, I have only two neighbors within the sound of my generator (that’s a standard of linear measurement up here), and I would have to travel 63 miles to Ukiah in one direction, and 110 in the other to Eureka, to find a Starbucks.
So I have to stifle my daily urge to drink a Starbucks latte. It’s a good thing I brew the best percolated coffee on the mountain. At least Annie think so, and that’s all that counts. As far as Time/Life Magazines go, I AM having the Time of my Life, and that’s the bottom Line.