The Relaxed Life

One of the things I noticed on this last trip up to Idaho from Texas is how much I yearn to return to an older, more relaxed style of life.  To be sure, this was triggered in no small part by the very frequent glimpses into small-town life Mark and I encountered as we drove up (more on this later), but lately I’ve been hankering to get further away from not only cities, but also the suburbs, “ex-urbs” and their concomitant lifestyle.

Everyone here knows, of course, of my love for older things, be they cars, guns or manners, and maybe it’s time for me to talk with New Wife about reverting to an old-fashioned lifestyle, where life is simpler and just… easier than the rat race we have to deal with now.

It doesn’t help that Mark and his wife recently left metropolitan Houston and moved far away to a small town in South Texas.  His description of their new life made me, in a word, jealous.  He and his wife are much younger than New Wife and I, so he can handle the more physical aspects of a small farm whereas we couldn’t.  And I wouldn’t want to do that even if I were younger;  I’m still a city boy at heart, but I have to think that I would be prepared to sacrifice proximity to gourmet restaurants and Central Market in exchange for a more relaxed lifestyle.

New Wife has often expressed her desire to live in a small English village, in a cottage like this one:

(Lest anyone wonders how, I should point out that our current 2BD 2BA apartment is about 970 sq.ft., so we’ve already downsized.)

We’re not going to do that, of course — we could, as she’s a British citizen — but no, because of all the usual reasons:  expense, upheaval, weather and of course British gun laws.

She’d also prefer to live on the coast somewhere (I wouldn’t mind), but to be honest, cost is a major deterrent.

Another problem is weather.  I’ve come to absolutely loathe Texas-type hot weather, and neither of us could handle the work of living in extreme cold in, say, northern Idaho or Montana.  Somewhere, there must be a happy medium, but damned if I can find it without some serious other negatives.

It’s also gotta be reasonably pretty.  I’ve had enough of flat Texas and, both of us having grown up in hilly Johannesburg, we yearn for that kind of scenery again.

So far, the rural states which occur to me are Kentucky and Tennessee — and by “rural” I mean that part which isn’t called “Nashville” or “Lexington”, and in each case also means “eastern”, as far as I can tell.

So, O My Readers:  talk to me, in Comments and by email, and tell me where I might find that kind of life as expressed in the picture at the top of this post.

Over-Complexity

The nice thing about getting into a car, back in the day when I first got into a car is that it was like a fork:  everything about it was self-evident, and it was easy to use (hold the end without the pointy bits, stab your food with it and convey said food to your mouth).  It even allowed for different styles of use, e.g. the American (hold the food still while cutting it into baby-sized pieces, then transfer fork to right hand, slide the fork under the food and shovel said food into your mouth).

I pass no judgment about the American way other than it’s fucking stupid and it’s the way a child eats.

Anyway, the same methodology applied to a car of an earlier era:  you open the door with the handle thoughtfully attached to the outside, get in and sit down;  then insert key into ignition and turn the engine on, put the car into gear, release the handbrake and off you go.  (A couple of steps have been omitted for sake of brevity.)  Then when you get to your destination, you pull up the handbrake, turn off the car, open the door with the handle thoughtfully supplied, and get out to go to the pub.

None of the above required a user’s manual or anything other than a thirty-second explanation from an adult.

Compare that simple procedure to this concatenation of silliness:

Jeremy Clarkson was test driving a brand-new Maserati MC20 when he and Lisa decided to drive the motor to their local pub, where they were planning to indulge in a fish pie, but the couple soon realised they couldn’t get out.

Jeremy said: ‘We were in the car and five minutes after that we were in the pub’s car park. And five minutes after that we were still in the pub car park because neither of us could find anything that even remotely resembled a door handle’.

‘Eventually I turned on my phone’s torch and found the little button that you must press to unlatch the door, and then we were out.

‘And then I was back inside very smartly because the car was starting to roll down a hill.’

After finally discovering a button that activated the handbrake, Jeremy thought he had fixed the issue only to hear ‘bonging noises’ when he got out of the vehicle.

‘After an hour of swearing and wondering out loud whether it would have been easier to stay at home and make a soufflé out of ant hearts, I called a colleague, who said that to engage ‘park’ and turn out the lights I had to stop the engine twice.

‘So I pushed the button to turn the motor off, then pushed it again. Which caused it to start. I then called the colleague again, who said that when I pushed the button the second time my foot had to be off the brake pedal. And he was right, which meant that we just caught last orders.’

Let’s hear it for Technology!

As Longtime Readers all know, I have a long and abiding passion for Maserati cars, despite the dreaded which causes fits of laughter among American engineers and drivers.

Now imagine that same applied to a system which (nominally) controls the “hand”-brake and door-“handle” functions, in addition to lights, mirrors, windshield wipers, turn indicators, window- and trunk controls, ignition, transmission and (gawd help us) onboard computer.

Compared to this mobile disaster area, even my old Fiat 124 looks like a dream come true.

Manual everything — gearbox, ignition, doors, windows, seats, rearview mirrors, turn indicators, trunk opener and even, on occasion (!), windshield wipers.

All this modern shit?  You can stick it.

Even for an MC20.

 

Branch Line

Running off at a tangent from yesterday’s train of thought (about simpler cars), I need to add the following.

As Longtime Readers know well, I’ve always preferred simple, reliable guns such as  Mausers and AK-47s:

…over the vajazzled option-heavy tricked-up “operator” guns that all the cool kids are buying these days.

So needless to say, when the Great Day Of The Barricades finally comes, you’ll most likely find me lying dead on the ground with an AK-47 clutched in my cold dead hands, with a cherry-red barrel, smoking handguard and an absolute shit ton of slowly-cooling brass lying around me.

Next to me will be some amateur “operator” also dead on the ground, clutching his Mattel gun with lights, cameras, red-dot sights etc., but only half a mag of brass lying next to his corpse, because that was all he managed to get off before his supergun malfunctioned.

I’m not saying that this is the way I’d prefer to draw my last breath, of course, but under extreme circumstances (like this:  45% of Democrats want the unvaccinated sent to internment camps), it’s certainly better than the alternative:

or:

Just sayin’.