Is that we’ve been inundated with people from California coming to live up here. We are not singular in this, as states all over the USA have been filling with Californians for years. Heck, back in the 80’s we had bumper stickers on cars telling Californians that we were full, and they needed to go back home
But when you can sell a diseased, cockroach-infested shoebox of a house for half a million dollars, you could buy a rather large home in the woods up here. Or at least you used to be able to do so. The real estate market surge that this country underwent in the past few years has caused almost anyone but the uber-rich to be able to buy a house. When I graduated high school many years ago, starter homes in town were selling for around thirty to fifty-thousands dollars. Small homes, two or three bedrooms and one bathroom. You may or may not have a garage.
Those same homes are now selling for seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That’s not a typo. And the average household income is $54k annually. Tell me how someone who was born and raised here, making the average income, can afford to buy a house here?
Anyways, that was a digression, and a rant for another day. What this particular rant is about is the fact that fact that Californians who move up here from large cities seem to be the most clueless, narcissistic fools when it comes to cause and effect, especially when it comes to the phrase “What goes up must come down”.
And yesterday was the Fourth of July.
And I stayed up far too late as my dear mother was having a small panic attack at the sound of all the fireworks being launched into the air out in the country. I say “country” because that’s the easiest way to convey where I live, but the reality is that we live in a forest with a few small pastures carved out for the cows to live in. Coniferous forest. Pine and fir and spruce and tamarack. Trees that have needles, and typically in an older stand of trees (old growth, if you will) you will have a rather thick carpet of pine needles under the canopy. I don’t know if anyone has seen how easily dry pine needles can take a flame, but let me assure you that it only takes a very small spark.
Now, in my youth my friends and I were known for bottle rocket wars. As in we would create bazookas out of whatever material we had at the time and then we would launch bottle rockets at each other from various distances out in a horse pasture while the adults drank beer and wondered if they were going to have to drive us to the hospital. But never ever did we launch anything flammable into the woods. Even as stupid teenagers we knew you did not take that chance. As an aside, the whistling type of bottle rocket causes the most pain when it strikes you, both physically because it has a plastic cap, and psychologically because you can hear the damn thing coming but you can’t see it in the dark.
The sheer amount of incendiary devices being launched into the air last night signaled to me that the local Indian reservation must have made a fortune in the days leading up to the 4th. Which, if employed in a safe manner, doesn’t cause me to lose any sleep. But when you’re launching artillery shells over a forest that hasn’t been logged in far too long, and has inches of dried pine needles?
I told my mother that I would stay up until the fireworks died down, and if I saw a glow I would call 9-1-1. That allowed her to get some sleep.
The fact that my wife had a six o’clock alarm set on her phone for absolutely no reason means that I’m so tired I can feel my eyeballs vibrating. And unfortunately I’m not one who can just roll over and go back to sleep. It’s going to be a long day.