Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The downside of being a hermit...

I've posted this lament before. Once in a while (as seldom as I can arrange) I need to leave my quiet desert home and go to a city. And I always find it terrifying. Today's one of those days.

Since I'm currently responsible for my dogs and W's, I can't stay overnight. It gets damned cold here overnight. Also, the two girls have demonstrated surprising willingness and ability to dig under the Gitmo fence no matter how many big stones I pile around the base. They seem to consider it a 'damage-acceptable' situation, and while I sympathize it does put them in greater danger while all the humans are gone.

So I can't stay overnight, which is both a trial and a relief. A trial because it gives me about twelve hours on the road plus time on target, and I'm not as young as I used to be. I'm unlikely to get home much before midnight, and that thought gave me considerable pause as I was nodding off around eight yesterday evening. A relief because ... well, I really did want an excuse not to overnight in the city. When I leave home, all I want is to go home.

I've often written about the infantilizing effect of on-grid living, how it encourages you to rely on the "big boys" for the necessities of life, how taking on those challenges for yourself allows you to grow up in ways many people can't imagine. I stand by that. But hermitage has its limiting influences as well. I used to navigate the hazards and hassles of city life as casually as most people do. But now they frighten me. I spend too much time in the quiet and solitude of the desert to be comfortable leaving it. What if I get lost? What if the dogs get out and/or get hurt? What if I don't have enough money to cover contingencies? What about traffic cops? What about traffic?

None of that's going to stop me, of course, but it does amuse and dismay me that the questions even arise. In many ways, a hermit's life has expanded and improved me. In a few others, I'm curiously diminished by it.

1 comment:

CorbinKale said...

Might it be that your former desensitization to the dangers of urban dwelling has eroded to the point that you can, once again, perceive the true peril?

A heightened perception does not diminish you.