Monday, September 15, 2014
Would you like to know one of the big disadvantages to living way out in the sticks?
There are a lot of services people in urban and suburban environments get, that you can't. At least not without going to a lot of expense, and putting up with a lot of aggravation.
There may not be any county water, trash pickup, paved roads, over the air television, cable, land line or internet service. Cell service is probably spotty or nonexistent. Local law enforcement, fire protection, and ambulance service may take more than an hour to get to you, if they get there at all. If there's a hospital in your town, you're lucky. Most rural hospitals are closing because they are not income producers and have moved from county control to privatization. When they don't make money, the company shuts them down.
You won't have nifty little kiosks where you can get a latte. Shopping is going to be limited to one or two stores, one of them a Big Box if you are really fortunate. No book stores, music stores, specialty shops of any kind unless they relate to important local activities. There may or may not be a couple of fast food joints in town. Perhaps a theater and a bowling alley.
You can find all the things that are missing, but it usually means driving an hour or more to another town.
The closer you live to a big town, the less impact these issues have with you . But the closer you live to a big town, the less of a "retreat" your homestead becomes, and the more suburbanite the environment.
I know, people will say that being without all that is a small price to pay for living in a secluded area. Initially, and on a philosophical level, it is. But I promise you, over the years , as you get older these things become more important. They are harder to deal with. More of them matter than they did when you were 32. I don't regret coming here, I am just more aware of the flies in the ointment.
I'm in a foul mood about this at the moment because we have only one internet provider in this county. Windstream is very unreliable. They never deliver the service promised, they tell outright lies in their advertising, their service is frequently down (we are experiencing a local outage in your area. We are effecting repairs as soon as possible. Goodbye!") and you just can't trust them. Today I called and asked them if my "package plan" was still the cheapest they had. The answer was no, that they had the same services available for less money but my plan was an "old" one. I asked them if they let anybody know when they made this new one available, and was told yes, they sent out notices. I don't get paper bills from them, so I would have noticed anything in the mail with their logo. I never got any such notice. So now I've been paying more than I had too for months, and would have continued to do so if I hadn't called. They know I can't go anywhere else for telephone and internet service, so what do they care.
I have a little bit of their stock, which gives me access to their investor relations department as opposed to their "gaff off the suckers" or customer service department. In the past I've been able to get at least partial satisfaction when they played these kind of shenanigans, so I will just have to give them a call and see what I can do. Even if the answer is nothing, at least I tried.