Right now, I am as far as I can get from many things. The closest freeway entrance is 150 miles through the desert dust. The nearest mall, 153. And in these parts, that's considered practically "in the neighborhood." Most other places are farther by far.
To be sure, there are disadvantages to parking one's trailer in a place like this. But revel in the advantages, too!
With those daunting distances to every horizon, I'm as far as can get from the malarial swamp called Washington, DC. This chunk of dirt and rock is parsecs from New York and Los Angeles.
My fellow Mid-Nowherians and I are as far as we can get from arbitragers, ambassadors, venture capitalists and executive producers. Nowhere near Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, federal crime bills, bills of impeachment or Bill Bennett. A million miles from Palm Beach, North Beach, Georgetown or Greenwich Village. Remote as a dream from a subway, Have It Your Way, The Third Way or the Beltway.
The nearest headquarters of a do-gooding foundation is...well, goodness knows, because I haven't a clue.
We are 193.6 miles from the nearest traffic jam. Two hundred fifty-four miles from the nearest legislature. Zillions of miles from any known sushi bar.
And Sarah Brady? Andrea Dworkin? Barbara Boxer? Janet Reno? Well, girls, you'll have to speak up real loud now, because we can't hear you from here.
In addition to being far from all the aforementioned monuments to modern meddlesome megasociety, this place is smack in the middle of reality of the old-fashioned kind. The kind with authentic, useful dirt on it and people in it who have something better to do than run other people's lives.
It's pure joy to breathe air so free of regulation, regimentation and official oppression.
But can any place be far away enough?
Yesterday I stopped at the general store to get a pillow. I thought the one they had was kind of expensive, but the next less expensive one was 53.4 miles south. So I bought it.
When I pulled it out of the bag, I found that it had not one but two "penalty of law" tags, each about as big as the pillow itself. The first carried all the Usual Dire Governmental Warnings. The other just had one notice on it. It said:
MEETS ALL STANDARDS OF THE CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF HOME FURNISHINGS
The California Bureau of Home Furnishings. You're serious about this, aren't you, dear pillow manufacturer? There really is such a thing as a California Bureau of Home Furnishings. You say the bureaucrats have gotten that carried away that legions live solely to look quasi-legalistically upon our household goods and I must believe you.
But do I even want to know what such a bureau does, or why the good citizens of California didn't rise up in revolt and overthrow their mad rulers the first moment some bright-eyed government supremacist even proposed an official Bureau of Home Furnishings?
And do I want to know why my little pillow, here in the middle of nowhere, must be vetted, regulated, inspected, detected, rejected, taxed, approved, licensed, tagged and egregiously boosted in price by these California Commissars of the Decoratively Correct?
No, spare me that. Spare me even one more thought of a Bureaucracy of Bureaus, an Agency of Antimacassars, or a Regulator of Recliners. Please do not inflict upon me a Department of Duvets, a Secretariat of Sofas, a Ministry of Mirrors, an Office of Odds and Ends or a Constabulary of Knickknacks.
It's a fact, though. They're there. And because they're there, in that strange, far away Soviet empire called California, they're here. In my little blue pillow. In my little brown truck.
I may keep moving the rest of my life. But the more I see the more I realize: There's no place anyone can go anymore that's far enough away to escape being digested within the endlessly entangled entrails of the California Bureau of Home Furnishings. And all its ilk.
© 1998 Claire Wolfe. This article may be reprinted for non-commercial purposes, as long as it is reprinted in full with no content changes whatsoever, and is accompanied by this credit line. The article may not be re-titled, edited or excerpted (beyond the limits of the fair use doctrine) without the written permission of the author. For-profit publications will be expected to pay a nominal reprint fee.