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©March 2007

Carol Jane Remsburg



Living in the Boonies



Okay, yesterday I figured out why I prefer living in the "boonies." I think I just don't like people. Not individuals, just as a group—en masse so to speak. 


I ended up having to go into 'town' yesterday when I wasn't planning on it. Saturdays bite because everyone else seems to be out and about.  They are shopping, visiting, and just in general getting in my way.  This was all prompted by a promise to the teen that we'd visit her best buddy who was in the hospital for tests. 


The "TEEN" decided she had to go to the mall before we went to the hospital.  The mall being the one place I hate pretty much more than all others. Pluck my eyelashes out one by one and I'd likely tolerate that better than having to go to "THE MALL."  I'd almost even opt to take the other teen's hospital testing rather than go to the mall.


Why you ask? Shouldn't all 'women' love to shop? I know I can't be alone in this, please don't let me be the only one who hates crowds. In that great concourse of the mall, there is a right side and left side, sorta like a normal highway where vehicles traverse with even an errant lip service given to the rules of the road, but not in the mall. There seem to be NO rules, no passing on the left or staying within your own lane either.


When I have to venture into the mad house of the mall, I have a specific purpose, a goal, so UNLIKE anyone else who seems to be beneath that same roof.  For others, it's a party, a social gathering point, a way to wile away the hours while intentionally impeding the progress of anyone else there on a mission to get in and get out as quickly as possible. 


We hit the starting gate at the door and suddenly the YOUNG teen's long legs can't keep up.  I'm not just power-walking this aging body, older than most moms with teens her age, I could be a grandma for heaven's sake but the adrenaline kicks in and I left her panting to keep up. 


If I'm lucky, people see me coming and I part the milling throng like Moses and the Red Sea—either that or I dodge and weave but I rarely lessen my stride.  Move it.  Move it.  MOVE IT….I don't have all day, I've got laundry waiting at home and toilets to scrub…and these people don't have a clue.  When is it they get their chores done?  I get two days a week to get it all done and a trip into town cuts down any time I might have for leisure and I begrudge any second I have to endure shopping. 


A small group, say a family of four, can string themselves as wide as a barn leaving you unable to dart between them without someone having a fit while they surge forward at the speed of an ebbing tide.  Or there is the "Coffee Klatch" group who simply stops to talk.  There is about six of them and traffic starts backing up five or six store-lengths back allowing slow passage around them single-file with a "Pardon me…Pardon," or even a blow by as a young mother roughly jostles an elder after a toddler has darted beyond her line of vision.  This is met with a "Hrrumph!" by those oblivious that they are impeding the normal flow of traffic.  Any and all of this drives my blood pressure right through the roof even while my mother's basic tenants of common courtesy are stretched to their limits.  After about five roadblocks, my "Pardon," is spoken through clenched teeth and courtesy at this point is fleeting because I'm so GONE by them.  And STILL the teen is panting, whining, and complaining that I'm "No fun to shop with."  One day she will know.  One day when she has limited hours and responsibilities.  One day she'll appreciate living in the boonies.


It took four stores and 20 minutes but we were out of the mall, off to Circuit City, then Staples, Walmart (don't even go there), and then finally the visit to the hospital.  Some four hours AFTER we left home, we returned.


Back to laundry, chores that didn't get done.  Suddenly we had company coming for dinner and I hadn't even started it.  Did I get the bills paid?  No!  Did I get half of what I needed done on Saturday?  NO!  I even had a special birthday party to attend Saturday night.  Did I get to go?  No! 


Literally at every turn on Saturday, there was someone in my way.  Was it intentional?  I'm sure it wasn't.  Did it nearly drive me to bite my tongue clean off?  Yes!  But I'll bet you I ground the entire enamel surface remaining off my teeth in the process. 


There is a reason I opted to live out in the boonies.  It's quiet out here and there isn't any traffic between me and my clothesline.  No maddening crowds to get in my way when I need to get anything done.  It's just me and the WIND out here.  I know I said it's quiet but the wind constantly blows, sometimes it screams and screeches (until it gets hot and takes a vacation somewhere like to participate in a hurricane or something).  Yet, it's different, and nobody is in my way slowing me down.


The boonies mean that life is supposed to be slower, quieter—or something.  It seems that even in this area, life is getting busier.  I just hope it doesn't rush to extend out to my zip code.  If I'm lucky, they'll all stay at the mall.


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