It’s been more than three years since I’ve lived in town. When I was in the middle of the mountains, people often asked, “Aren’t you lonely out there?” I would look at them, a little baffled. Lonely? No, although I would get a little twitchy after ten days or so of being snowed in. Those times, when the internet just wasn’t enough, I was tempted to chase down the County plow so I could talk to a real-live person.
When I moved to my temporary (thank God), current (and old-cheese-smelling) house, though, I realized that I did have definite hermit-y tendencies. I’d forgotten just how close in-town neighbors are…and how loud. Is it normal for kids to scream constantly as they play? I was a kid once, and I don’t remember that much top-of-my-lungs, I’m-being-dismembered-by-a-hacksaw shrieking, but I could be wrong.
The dogs, having been used to seeing two or three vehicles drive by in a day, feel the need to let me know every time someone in the general area speaks/moves/walks a dog/closes a car door/screams/closes a house door/plays music/screams even louder/sets off fireworks (that’s been happening a lot. It’s almost August. Please stop.)/argues/cries/begs/etc.
And that’s just people. Don’t get me started on the bunnies. At one point on one of our early a.m. runs, there were three bunnies, two ducks and a squirrel on the path ahead. As the dogs had a group psychotic break and attempted to dislocate my shoulder, I felt like we’d been dropped into the hell version of a Disney movie.
I realized on one of those same morning runs that this was normal. It was me, with my off-grid house plopped in the middle of silence and solitude, who was the odd one. Most people enjoy the social aspects of living close to others and appreciate the security of nearby neighbors.
I’m not worried about the isolation. After all, Minnesota has a lot of plow drivers, so I can just chase one down when the cabin fever hits.