I’m kind of the odd man out here at BandWagon. Longtime readers, ever noticed that when we review country albums, I’m the one to write them? That’s because I’m the only one who likes country music, let alone listens to it. I wear a cowboy hat, denim jacket and work boots without irony. I drive a 4×4 Jeep without apology, and know my way around a Massey Ferguson 135 since I spent my summers mowing down our family’s 40 acres. If it weren’t for my personal political leanings, my love of art and films, and my educational background as a journalism major/philosophy minor, I’d probably be a full-on redneck.
Supposedly, people my age are a forward looking, urban-focused generation. Yet they have an appreciation – no, a fetish – for the blue collar/outdoorsy/rural lifestyle, which I live. For example, The Atlantic recently ran a piece on “Lumbersexuals,” which are hipsters who dress like lumberjacks to feel more manly. Imagine Greeley fixture Paul Beveridge with more plaid, more beard and an axe.
I’ve spent many an afternoon cutting down trees with a chainsaw and splitting logs with a logsplitter, so I can say that with confidence that most people who idolize the blue-collar/rural lifestyle know nothing. They’re like Redditors who proclaim “I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE” whenever a meme of Bill Nye or Neil Tyson DeGrasse gets posted; Nye and DeGrasse are not representative of the majority of scientists or the field of science. Guys wearing flannel and work boots who work as code monkeys, here’s a slice of reality.
Early in December, my father and I found ourselves outside playing electrician with the disconnect (an exterior fuse box) on our power pole, which consisted of Dad jamming a large screwdriver under the lever that holds the worn-out connection down on the fuses.
Back at the house, Mom confirms we have full power, instead of the half-power we had hours earlier that burned out a CFL bulb, filling one of our hallways with a panic-inducing stench.
Our half-power incident also killed our oven, and the cherry on top of that was discovering the disconnect wouldn’t be replaced by our co-op for six weeks because of holiday scheduling problems.
In Greeley, this would be a non-issue. For us though, getting the disconnect working meant having heat and Internet, however tenuously. And this is a rare occurrence; we’ve had other, bigger, more dangerous annoyances to deal with. (Ever seen 40 acres on fire? Or had to wrangle a neighbor’s horse at 10:30 at night?)
The trade-offs of this bullshit, though? Along with the lack of noise and pollution, my fellow city-bound cohorts have probably never had a bald eagle land in their backyard, or had a deer visit their place, or seen a meteor shower with no light pollution, or lit up a bonfire or have done target practice in their yard without the neighbors calling the cops. But I have. Multiple times. And it’s pretty damn good.