Low road suits me just fine
Published: Saturday, July 2nd, 2005
Recently, a couple of friends from elsewhere mentioned that they felt I must lead a dull and boring life in Tucumcari. They had passed by on Interstate 40, were sure that no one could even pretend to find anything interesting to do here, and suggested that I consider moving elsewhere. As you can well imagine, I had a few choice words to say to that suggestion and to the thoughts they had expressed. Because they talked much about what they do every minute of the day and because I said very little about what I do, they managed to conclude that my life must be most miserable. Although they knew me many years ago, they should have recalled my limited comments about my daily activities, much less the hourly ones. Besides, they were always so busy telling about their accomplishments that they wouldn’t have heard what anyone else said. When I was very young, Mother taught me to avoid trying to top other people’s stories as they wanted to be heard rather than to hear. She had learned to listen and thought I should learn the same lesson. She explained that many people seem to feel obligated to account for every minute of their time and that joining in that game would lessen the value of what they had been doing since we last saw them. Of course, those friends who were concerned about life here really have no idea what goes on in a small town or in a sparsely populated county and wouldn’t know how to act were they to follow us around for a day or two as we sort of mosey around enjoying life. Those who know me know that I rarely hurry to do anything because I’m not geared to dash in all directions at top speed. I found early on that I could accomplish as much as the next person by going slowly and reasonably surely and have never felt the need to see how much I could do in five minutes when I could get just as much done in 10. Even my hours of writing each day would cause many people to say they knew all along that I waste a lot of time. On top of that, writing must be done in solitude, and that just isn’t a natural state according to those who must be surrounded by people at all times. They even pose all sorts of questions: How can anyone enjoy being alone? How can a person keep from being lonely? How can anyone enjoy playing with words? For some reason, they don’t like my questions: How can anyone enjoy not being alone? How can anyone be lonely? How can anyone avoid playing with words? And to those friends who asked about life in Tucumcari, I asked, how could anyone enjoy living anywhere else? Because we are individuals, we tend to follow different trails. My trail may seem just as unusual to others as theirs do to me, but we should allow each other the freedom to think our own thoughts and to do our own work in our own way. Were we all alike, life would be more than a little boring. I’d prefer to wave at those who are in a hurry and don’t even mind eating their dust as I need a lot of grit in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The high road is more thrilling to them; whereas, the low road is most definitely my choice.
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