“Are you enjoying this weather?”
My first thought was that she was being sarcastic, but her sweet open face and tidy grandmotherly hairdo belied that notion. “Well, no,” I replied cautiously. “I’d like it to be a bit warmer.”
“Are you from here?”
“Well we just love it here. We’re from Georgia and it’s so hot there.”
“Oh, that explains it. You must be enjoying the cool weather.” We were camped just south of Duluth. It was a 60° and cloudy in July – not the best summer weather in my view, and in winter five feet of snow can arrive all at once, all in one day. Sorry, Duluth. Can’t say I’ll be exploring your charms any further.
And that, my friends, is a perfect example of why we have been on a wild goose chase looking for a perfect place to live.
Because we’ve been talking to people.
What you already have – curly hair, skinny legs, a home in the South – is not necessarily what you want. What someone else wants – straight hair, big boobs, a home where it snows in winter – isn’t necessarily what you want.
What Jimmy thinks he wants is not necessarily what I want. And what we both think we want or someone else thinks we‘d like, we don’t want when we get there and see it. It’s too congested or too rural, too busy or too slow, too tired and seedy or too brand new and characterless. I despair.
So let’s review that list of requirements for a perfect place again:
- somewhere not too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry
- no spiders, no mosquitoes or other hideous insects
- no snakes, no bears
- no tornadoes
- no hurricanes
- no floods
- no earthquakes
- no tsunamis
- no volcanoes
- no deep snow
- no humidity
- no wild fires
- a low cost of living
- an ocean or gulf view (yes, realize that eliminates all but 21 states)
- a mountain view would be nice, too
To this list I’ll now add:
- no cattle grids on the interstate ramps (too high chaparral)
- nowhere that traffic on the interstate is the main topic on the local news
- not on a road called Skunk Hollow
- no mudslides
- on second thought, no spiders (above) would certainly eliminate all 50 states so will modify that to no tarantulas or giant arachnids. That might eliminate Florida so I won’t tell Jimmy if I see one. In fact Florida has all manner of shocking creatures, but humans are probably the worst (humans in general, not Floridians in particular) and we can’t get away from them.
- not in a town where the local library sees fit to display a “No Guns” sign listing the pertinent ordinances in case you want to argue the point
- near a major airport to take a teeny bit of stress off trips back to Blighty
- not where we would ever, ever have to use the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River in New York City ever, ever again. Others shudder when you mention it to them and Jimmy pales and starts to tremble.
- nowhere that you can buy just guns, musical instruments, jewelry and car audio in the same store
- that no hurricane and no tsunami thing might eliminate all the ocean and gulf coasts so I’ll choose to ignore the discrepancy for now.
- I’d like to say not within 50 miles of a taxidermist but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
- not in a town where the gun store sells gator meat, hog traps and fresh frogs legs.
- not in a town with a gun store at all. It may be very un-American of me to not want to have anything to do with a gun but I’d like to live somewhere that I don’t feel the need to have one about my person or home.
- nowhere that we’d be dependant on using an Interstate daily as one third of Americans are. They’re a generally a mess – busy and bumpy.
Should we abandon the quest and the list and just live near one of my brothers so we’d at least have family nearby?
That would be Florida which falls foul of many of the items on the above list.
Or under the unending grey skies of Washington State (at least when we lived there) where when Mount Rainier is uncloaked it is event to be remarked upon and pointed out. “Look! Rainier’s out!!”
Fourteen and a half thousand feet of geographical wonder, which when the sky is clear is visible all up and down the Puget Sound, is usually hidden from view under a thick veil of cotton wool. Look at a U.S. weather map and you will invariably see a swirl of muck over the top left corner of Washington. The Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier are under there.
Jimmy is really no help at all. He wants to blow the house fund on a big motorhome.