I met a woman the other day who said something to me that got me thinking in a way I hadn’t thought for more than a decade. Just in passing, she happened to mention the way she looks at the small mountain community where we both live — Pine.
I tell you, hearing what she said was like stepping outside on a fresh spring morning and taking a breath of cool, clear mountain air.
Though it took me by surprise, literally knocking the pins out from under me, what she said wasn’t complicated. Not at all.
It was the simplicity of it that made it so startling.
“I don’t lock my doors up here,” she said. “I came here to live in a quiet little mountain community, away from the noise of the city, the pollution, the road rage, the crime, the drugs, and all the rest of it, and I have no intention of bringing it with me by thinking the same way I thought back when I lived down there.”
And then she told me that it had been so long since she’d seen a house key, she wasn’t even sure she had one anymore.
No locked doors? Maybe even no house keys?
Think about that.
I did, I’ll tell you!
I’ve been up here for 10 years, and before that, I came up on weekends and holidays for about 15 years, so all I know about the Rim Country, other than what I read about it before I came here, is what I have seen in the past 25 years.
Well? What about those 25 years?
The best way I can say it is that they’ve been great!
And by great I mean quieter and more crime-free than any 25 years of my life.
The best. The absolute best!
Does that mean I’m going to quit locking my front door? That I’m going to leave my car door unlocked so I don’t have to get half drowned trying to get the key in the lock when the sky rips open during a monsoon thunderstorm? That I’m going to leave the storeroom out back unlocked so that I don’t have to scout up a key every time I need to get something?
Sorry. Like too many of us, I suspect, I’ve been brainwashed.
I don’t see any crime taking place. I don’t hear about any crime taking place. And no one in our neighborhood talks about crime. But try as I might, I can’t shake off the feeling that my every move is being watched by thugs who covet my meager belongings and are just waiting for the chance to drive away with my car. Not to mention criminals of every other type and kind.
So who’s fault is that?
Hm-m-m-m. Mine, I suppose.
But not mine alone.
I turned on the television set about three hours ago and tuned into Channel 5 down in the Valley, not my favorite news channel, but Channel 12 was showing football at a time when they should have been showing the news, something that really irritates me even though I’m a sports fan.
What was the first thing on the evening news? A burglary.
The second thing? A car theft.
The third thing? An armed robbery of a convenience store.
The fourth? A shooting.
The fifth? A ...
Well, you get the picture.
Did any of it happen here?
Was any of it of even the slightest importance to me?
Was it interesting?
Did I enjoy watching it?
So why in the world was I watching it?
I moved out of the Valley to get away from all that stuff, to come up here and enjoy a hard-earned retirement among good people and beautiful scenery in a place of peace and quiet.
If anyone came up here and tried to change all that I would fight him to my last breath. I don’t want this place changed. I love it the way it is.
And so, like the idiot I am, I’ve been changing it myself.
Not by building a home that looks out of place among our magnificent ponderosa pines. Not by planting trees and shrubs that don’t belong here. Not by driving through the woods at breakneck speed and scaring the elk up into Utah. Not by wasting precious water on a lawn.
But by bringing the Valley with me in my head, instead of leaving it back where it belonged. And then making it worse by tuning in to get my daily fix of things that have absolutely nothing to do with me anymore!
Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!
Henceforth, national news on television?
Local news on television?
As soon as Pine has its own station.
Or maybe Payson.
Now, as for those locked doors, does anybody know a good chiropractor who does an un-brainwashing adjustment?