Once Upon a Time, I was going to Disappear

I no longer have a clue how I’m going to get there, but my goal at one time, which was attainable years ago, was to go live on some acreage surrounded by many, many more acres of nothing.

Go completely off grid.

Cut myself off completely from any form of media.

The only thing I would have is a phone so I could keep in touch with my kids.

There were times when I was at that location for a week at a time. No radio, no television. The closest town was 17 miles away and if you had enough food, there was no reason to go there. Since this spot was on some small lakes, there was an endless source of fish and if I was living there, I could grow everything else I needed.

After being out there for a week I would have to head home and, with the radio on, I would hear about all these events that had occurred while I was oblivious to the world.

And I would realize that me knowing about any of it meant absolutely nothing. It didn’t matter. If I had been living out there I would have never known anything about any of these events unless I drove into town and someone started up a conversation…

“Did you know there was a total blackout of a big chunk of the U.S. and Canada?”

“Uhhh, no.”

“It was awful, people were looting, little mini riots were breaking out, others were hunkered down in anticipation of the worst.”

“Hunh, sounds awful. I was out fishing those days. It wasn’t bad. I’ll bet the stargazing was pretty good those days with no lights, ya think? Probably could see the Milky Way.”

And then the conversation would die, I’d pay for whatever it was I came for and leave.

What triggered this train of thought was a little video snippet of Michelle Obama at the inaugural dinner for her husband. The short video showed the President and John Boehner having a conversation, talking to each other while leaning behind Michelle’s back. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head at Boehner over whatever he said and for some reason I was sucked into going to see this.

Apparently I wasn’t alone. In less than 12 hours, over a half million other people had to go look. To top it all off, over a thousand people felt the need to comment on it. I realized at that moment that I was looking at and reading things that simply didn’t matter. And I was doing it on a regular basis. And I couldn’t seem to put the brakes on my behavior.

The internet in general and social media in particular have become like chocolate in my house.

If there is one speck of chocolate in my house, I am going to find it and eat it. If there is none, I’ll lament the fact that there is none, but I won’t go out of my way to get any. Eventually I’ll forget all about it and go out fishing somewhere.

Some day I’ll figure out how to get a chunk of land and go off grid. I might have a computer so I can write things down now and then and play with photographs, but there will be no internet connection.

I’m sure there will be times, due to force of habit, that I’ll wander around lamenting the fact that there is no internet connection. Eventually I’ll forget all about it and go out fishing. Or for a walk, maybe sleep out under the stars and watch the Milky Way do, well, nothing.

And then I’ll go into town for my once a month supplies and someone will probably start up a conversation…

“I really feel sorry for those people out in California.”


“The earthquake out in California. It’s gotta be tough on the people out there.”

“When was there an earthquake?”

“Two weeks ago. Two thirds of the state pulled away from the rest of the continent. The Gulf of California now stops just south of Sacramento. You didn’t hear about any of this?”

“No, must have been out fishing and missed it. Did tie into an unusually large school of big crappie a couple of weeks ago. Wonder if that earthquake had anything to do with it. So, the Gulf of California goes all the way to Sacramento, eh? You been getting any fishing reports out of Fresno then? Might be good now. Well, gotta go. See ya next month and let me know if you here anything about that fishing in Fresno.”

14 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time, I was going to Disappear

  1. Kevin Drendel

    Ahhh, you hit the mother lode. I was a daydreaming Huckleberry Finn once, but that was a long time ago. Alas….

    1. Ken G Post author

      I never give up on dreams Kev, even if they’re daydreams. I have one whole shelf of books that I’ve read dedicated to being able to do this. You just never know.

  2. bob

    I never seriously had such thoughts over the sourse of my life. I’d have them in frivolous moments, but I knew I was a tried and true city boy with big city love in my heart for all of that concrete, glass and steel and the (mostly) un-necessary, but fun to play in, drama of it all.

    Now. Now. I’m kinda’ gettin’ done with it. I don’t wish to be off the grid, but I’d sure like to be where it is dark and quiet at night. Where is it quiet and calm during the day, and I can see weather coming at me. Where I can really see the change of seasons (at least three of them anyway) in the plants around the house, and in the slant of the sun coming through the windows.

    Internet, satellite, I can control the flow of info I seek out.

    Fishing? oh my. outside my door or down the road? oh my

    1. Ken G Post author

      I never thought I would live outside of the Chicago city limits Bob, but that started to change the first time I went to Virginia when I was 27. The one thing I did find out once, cause of the hills, you definitely don’t see the weather coming.

      One of my favorite past times at night was taking the kids on a walk in the dark along the little road that followed the lake above. No flash lights were allowed. When we would get out of the woods and onto the road, the only light was from all the stars. Amazing how much light that is.

      And that spot above was a mere 30 second walk down the hill from the house. If I was short a bluegill for dinner, I’d walk down there, catch one, clean it right there on that cleaning spot and off to dinner. Doesn’t get any fresher than that.

  3. walt

    I know what you mean. Long ago got my chunk of land surrounded by miles of big country. Successfully kept the television away but, alas, couldn’t afford to get off the grid. The web’s addictive, obviously, so the best I can do is master its presence and keep it in the corner while I work, fish, wander, love. But keep the vision!

    1. Ken G Post author

      Walt, some day the costs will come down to go off the grid. Problem is, no one really wants you to do that. Look at your electrical bill and all the taxes that are added on. All that would go away. They can’t figure out how to solve that issue. That’s why we have wind and solar farms feeding back into the grid. Someone can still make money off that.

      My current father-in-law has about 20 acres of land near the Missouri/Arkansas border. I’m hoping all goes well and we might be able to pick it up cheap from him. No lake on the property itself, but one not far away.

    1. Ken G Post author

      The living long enough to do it is always a concern Howard. Being healthy enough to enjoy it when it happens is the other. Every birthday brings up fresh doubts on both.

  4. Quill Gordon

    Off the grid is a pain in the butt. I only say that because it’s been below zero this week and I’ve been reflecting on the time I spent off the grid, on an island, in the winter. Now I just turn stuff off and pretend.

    I still hold onto an image of my perfect set-up in my head but I’d probably have to hire a young me to keep it going.

    1. Ken G Post author

      The age part has me concerned too Quill. But heading south to go off grid might be a bit easier. Those southerners whine when it gets down around 40 degrees. That’s when I’m taking the shorts out of storage.

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