Moving to Montana

By Diann
Copyright © 1996 as Freeware,
Distribute freely, just keep the essay and my name intact.

There are days when the idea of becoming a hermit appeals. Picking up a few belongings and maybe a cat or two, and setting out for someplace forlorn and sparsely-populated, as is much of Montana, sounds like a very good idea.

There seems to be a cabin available, once every last typewriter is pulled out and thumbprint categorized and reporter sent on her or his way to the next scenic locale with its moment in the sun. It doesn't seem likely that the owner will be back anytime soon.

And the neighbors are good -- no one knows anyone else's business. That right there -- a major selling point. One can live next to someone else (whatever "next door" means with Big Sky geography like they've got), and not even ask what someone does for a living. In the greater scheme of things, it isn't what's important. And, I like that. Minding one's own business, volunteering only what one wants to volunteer, believing what one sees fit. Live and let live.

Oh, maybe I'd want some amenities that this cabin lacks -- install solar collecting devices, run in a phone line, find an Internet service provider. A full bath would be nice, too. And the summers are short and the winters harsh. But I like organic gardening, and both rabbit and venison are tasty. So, we move the place south, maybe adding on a few more substantial rooms, and maybe even plunking it down near a good sushi bar, which I doubt is one of Montana's strong points. And convince a few good friends and buddies to move into the region -- hmmm, before you know it, we've left the hermitage behind entirely.

Is it so odd not to want to snoop? To lack concern about the goings-on of the television daytime talk shows? To not care about catching the latest in gossip? I'd rather let people draw themselves out -- everyone seems to have their own "take" on a situation, and it may not match the viewpoints of the participants of that situation in the slightest. Why is it considered so strange that Jessica (the child pilot) Dubroff's mother chose to rear her children without television or Santa Claus? Perhaps her discouragement of emotion was more than a little off-kilter, but is our society growing so dysfunctional we wish to shut out for other people all exploration of alternatives, defining a "normative" childhood or adulthood? What, for instance, is so wrong about raising one's own child without television? What's so wrong about not prying into one's neighbor's means of livelihood? If it's not my business, and it's non-cohersive, I'll let other folks define themselves. And live out the lives of their own decisions. Not too hard to ask, is it? Why does it seem so strange to so many other Americans that so many Montanans evidently want to live this way?

But perhaps that's where the Unabomber went wrong, after all. If he indeed is Ted Kaczynski, perhaps he was fine dealing with his immediate neighbors. It's those faceless neighbors across the country he decided to pass judgement on. And failed most strongly in that "live and let live" department that he seemed to expect in treatment for himself.

Curious? Saunter off to Diann's home page.
Or, go see what else she's writing about.
Last Updated: August 10, 1996