I must say, sometimes Chico just gets up my ass. I gotta get out of here now and then.
I wouldn’t have said that 10 years ago, but I remember starting to think this way about six or so years ago. Chico has changed dramatically since my youth, I’ve watched it grow from a beautiful familiar community to an anonymous string of subdivisions. They’ve killed our Downtown and replaced it with a propped up corpse. Our government has gone from concerned locals to self-serving trough dwellers, here today, gone tomorrow, off to the next town to loot and pillage.
I hate feeling that way – everything I own is here. My husband and I have invested our entire lives here, where we grew up, and now we’re watching the Jolly Roger come alongside our boat and the pirates are swarming over the sides. We can’t fight them all off. At some point we’re going to have to load our valuables into a dinky boat and get the hell out. Screw the rats, they can swim. Or I can load them on a little spit and roast them over my dinky BBQ.
Every man/woman for themselves. I learned that from Tom Lando. Sure, he tries to bolster up the community spirit he destroyed – like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland – “C’mon Everybody! Let’s pitch in to clean up this mess I made. I get a huge pension, and the rest of you get to be my servants!” He’s like the owner of a southern plantation, trying to rally his former slaves before Sherman marches into town.
Our Sherman, of course, will be bankruptcy. I don’t plan to be waiting here when he marches into town.
I plan to be having a nice cup of coffee in the woods somewhere, feet propped up on a stump to watch the sun rise.
There’s plenty of work to do – cleaning up brush and debris off the forest floor to prevent forest fires. In winter you can call burning pine needles and other “tree trash” a day’s work, standing around with a pitchfork and a rake, waiting for the coals to get hot enough to roast yourself a frankfurter.
Housework = make the bed and put away the breakfast dishes.
No PG&E, no Cal Water, no Chico Silly Council, no chickens. When a gal down the road here tried to keep chickens, Bear ripped the side off the coop and had a giant pillow fight.
Quick trips to town to check the mail, do some laundry, buy some groceries, rake leaves, clean gutters, back to the camp site.
We woke up the other night to a storm, rain prattling off the tin roof of our camp shack. We went back to sleep. When we woke up a few hours later, Venus was blaring in our window, like a mini-sun, time to get up and watch the day get started.
I always wondered, what could make people leave the place they’ve lived all their lives and take up something new. But what my husband and I are doing now seems more like a return to what we knew better, life in Chico is starting to seem like a bad dream, getting farther and farther away with every trip up the hill.