And so it began...

...coming back from a weeklong respite in the steel city, full of well-wishing, celebration, and booze. the idea had been kicking around for some time now, and had even been decided - insofar as we were telling everyone - but still somehow didn't seem real. it took yet another dreary afternoon of UV-rays to the retinas and CO2 to the lungs... the afternoon commute from the north of Scottsdale to the center of Phoenix. always into the sun, always the kind of smoggy that makes your chest feel tight. and hot. indescribably hot even when the weather report says 95 (which to the uninitiated may seem extreme, but is in fact unseasonably cool). the desert is the desert, and i've been ok with that. to be stranded in its midst in a steel box on wheels that can't go anywhere, surrounded by others in the same predicament, is unforgivable. commuting is the reason to leave, to not work. the irony is my day will look about the same in 6 months, save the salary and the stagnation.

k and i, we're not the happiest of folks right about now. we fell in love, got married, and moved to a town where we'd have 'good' jobs and a shot at 'making it'. we saved up for our first home, i put on the shirt and tie everyday, she went off to school. but something was naggingly missing. we looked at houses, but they were all the same, cheap plywood, generally poor new construction. stucco. lots of it. a yard that's about the size of a king mattress, except dusty and sharp if you lie on it. homeowners associations. crippling debt. houses that began to approach our personalities were out of our price range - historic and small, starting in the mid $300's (plus HOA fees). what the heck did we even need a house for? we loved each other a lot, but we argued and grew dull. the PHX was not our kind of town... a giant heartless same-looking suburb rapidly gobbling up the sonoran desert and every watershed in the southwest, and replacing it with stucco and asphalt, fountains, air conditioning, and a combination of dust, soot, and car exhaust that hurts to think about. a place where everything is a drive away, and you're lucky to see pedestrians north of Van Buren for 3/4 of the year. everything about this place is irresponsible.

i worked a job that i despised. not that there was anything fundamentally wrong with it (though there was and is in many ways, as i would come to see), it paid well and was not difficult. all told, good money for easy work. mind-numbing, thoughtless, thankless work. the kind of work that turns intelligent folk into boob-tube staring semi-alcoholic dunces, or hopelessly competitive bimmer-driving one-up-on-you sorts. not that anyone ever stopped to ask why, but there was a line in 'thank you for smoking' that i liked - "The Yuppie Nuremburg Defense" - gotta pay the mortgage! isn't that reason enough?

but enough ranting. office job in office job city. i can't imagine anywhere less real.

and then the realization - why do we do this? why not stop?

it's difficult and stigmatized to not work (or rather to not 'have a job' or 'be employed', as we've no intention to not DO work), but then again so is Veganism and we've done ok with that. sure you come off as a little preachy and are often a pain in the ass to dine out with, but we believed in it and made up our minds. and so it's stuck. if we could make that work, why not decide a few more things. we don't want a house. we don't want a 'good job' with 'good benefits' - at least not for it's own sake. we oppose wage-slavery and clockwatching. we don't want debt. we desire to live simply and well. care about others. live as an example for one's neighbors. show the world, but most of all ourselves, that it's possible to live consciously in a world so dominated by mega-corporations and media that we don't even flinch when we're being advertised at. most of all we want to be able to decide, to choose what we want, without being told. and so it is.

In the oven-of-car, it hit me. we're really leaving. not just phoenix, but the type of life we're 'supposed' to have. we're making up our minds to live well. what does that mean? well, i'm pretty sure it doesn't involve cubicles and flourescent light. Quality, in the robert pirsig sense of the word. how to find it remains to be seen, but i am confident in these first steps. welcome to our blog.

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