May 25th, 2005

(no subject)

An Accurate Description of

About twenty-five years ago, John TQ won the first Vermont State Lottery and got himself a hefty sum of money for circling a bunch of numbers and gambling away his money irresponsibly. What did he do with that money? He built a house in the mountains of Huntington. The house was built around a tree and on top of a boulder. There was a tree going through the middle of the living room, and an entire wall of the basement was a massive rock that protruded halfway into the floor. About twenty-five years later, when John TQ was in jail for possession and cultivation of marijuana, Alex TQ and his girlfriend lived in that same, still unfinished house in the mountains of Huntington.

I would assume there are hundreds of thousands of small towns just like Huntington, but it still feels like a world all its own. Secluded forty minutes from the nearest interstate, following a winding track of scenic roads, is a town where all existence outside itself is completely unnecessary. It's a place where everybody knows everybody, but only in a manner where pictures of children are always shared, family recipes are always passed on, soft-serve ice cream flavors are infinite, and always a quarter off for kids under six, and your neighbor will always have a cup of flour or an extra egg. It's a place where the two village general stores are constantly nitpicking each other, drivers wave to pedestrains, even if they don't know who they are, and the apple pie always wins the annual pie-baking contest. It's a place so secluded from the rest of the world that cell-phones don't get service and cars never go faster than twenty five miles per hour.

Living in this town for six months with a boy I was prematurely married to (figuratively speaking, of course), was a time in my life that sticks out from all my other memories like a pink sprinkle on a mud pie. It is so blatantly random and different from my normal routine of things, and my desires to be a city girl, for me to live in a town so cut off that it possessed the attitude of its own planet. I was driving on dirt roads daily, enroute to my own home, through elevation changes where you could watch it snowing five feet away from you, but not above you. My road was a place where hicks roared and rich people grazed. If you weren't looking at glorious mansions with manicured and pedicured lawns, bordered by gardens with every color imaginable, then you were staring straight through the broken windows of a wooden split-level with a car up on cement blocks in the front yard.

I, of course, lived in one of the many trashy houses that very obviously looked unfinished, with insallation and boards of wood sticking out in every direction. You see, John TQ never exactly finished that house in the hills. Walls were partial; there was no separation between the bedroom and the bathroom, so your only choice if you didn't like shitting in front of other people was going in the woods. There were stacks of sheetrock everywhere that were yet to be nailed into the walls or the ceiling, and all the furniture was ripped and had fluff drooling onto the floor. It was so half-assed that anytime anybody got bored, we would whip out some paints and drench the walls in whatever designs we fancied. There was no heater, so our only source of warmth was a fireplace downstairs, and there was no plumbing when we first moved in, so everything was bucket-flushed and tooth-brushing water was from the store. Alex and I braved the Winter and eased into the Summer, living it up as a retired married couple in our deteriorating shack in the mountains.

In the wintertime, the snow sparkled season-long as if it had never been touched by the smog of human existence. In the summertime, the sun hit every leaf and turned it the brightest shade of green I'd ever seen. I used to lie up on the roof and sunbathe naked while Alex was off running errands. All you could hear out there was birds, the breeze, and the stream running through our back yard and all the way up and down the mountain. Sometimes we'd drive the ATV at top speeds up to the peak of the road and back down again even faster, utilizing all the ingredients of a hick-style life his father had left behind for us. We'd drive by those million dollar mansions every day and pick flowers from their gardens to put in our window above the sink. We'd go off-roading in the Spring and see how high we could splash the mud up, or through tall-grassed fields in the Summer and count how many bugs we could get stuck to us. There was even a cow farm right down the road that was absolutely ideal for cow tipping, although I never tried it, as badly as I wanted to.

Yes, I would assume that almost every secluded small town like Huntington is pretty much just the same. But there's something about the thought of that weird little town an hour away from civilation that makes me happy that I experienced the hick life at least once in my eighteen years of being a Vermonter.