You Can’t Die If You Aren’t There

Here’s 207 Vista Drive, as viewed from Google Earth:


That’s it, where the yellow pushpin is.

It doesn’t look like that right now, of course – it’s considerably whiter. And right now, it has some wooden stakes sticking up out of the snow – not the official “dig here” stakes, but the “this is where the house is going to be” stakes, so that the HOA can approve our plans.

As I’ve mentioned before, I can see this lot from the back yard of our condo right now. A few days ago, I was out throwing the ball for Juneau, and looked up at this lot, and thought “Yeah, that’s where I’m gonna die – right there.” That’s sort of the plan, here – to build a place and die there (assuming that I don’t wind up at A Place for Mom).

As I’ve also mentioned before, I’m not at complete peace with this whole idea – yes, I’m the one who said that we should perhaps build instead of buy, after almost buying a home in Columbia Falls. And I even thought that it might be “an adventure” (although I am more Hobbit than Elf, and while adventures make great stories, they can be very uncomfortable while they are under way).

Now, let’s be clear – this is merely the latest “place where I’m going to die”. When we bought the first condo in Purgatory- the one bedroom we called the “Love Grotto” – we thought that that would be our retirement home.

But living in a 750 square foot one bedroom turned out to be a bit confining, for Ethel’s taste. So then we bought the second Purg place – the three bedroom we named “The Money Pit” – and we thought THAT would be the place that we’d die. We spent a lot of money turning it into exactly what we wanted it to be.

However, Ethel then decided that 9000 feet in the San Juan Mountains is NOT where she wanted to be old, so it fell out of favor.

And then we left Arizona for Park City, and owing a condo in PC and two condos in Purgatory seemed a mite redundant – so we sold the one bedroom first, and then – against my better judgement and wishes – we sold the big one as well. So we’re not going to die there, either.

I thought we’d retire in Park City, but there were problems there (having to do with Ethel’s job, mostly) – that, and other issues, sent us to Bozeman, where I thought I’d be dying at 12 Red Rock Court. But, alas, things caused us to think that maybe that wouldn’t be the place to grow old and die. So we came to Whitefish.

Now, when we moved into 526 Silverleaf, we were SURE that we’d be retiring here. When we closed on this condo, we set it up for a four-year payment – four years being the span of time until I could start collecting Social Security. We set EVERYTHING up for this to be the very last place that we were going to buy.

Until we decided that we weren’t done, and had to keep going. To the house that we’re building now.

Now, to tell the truth, it seems that Ethel has been the instigator of these moves at least as often as – and to the same extent as – I myself. But, still, I’m starting to wonder if I’m not the problem.

I’ve already written up a discussion of the possibility that I am actually addicting to moving. But there may be another, darker side to this.

The other day, when I looked up at the lot, and thought “Yep, that’s where I’m gonna die”, I felt Mexico stir again way down in my psyche – particularly Todos Santo, which is my favorite hammock location.

And right about then, a thought crossed the front of my mind, and I just managed to snag it before it scurried back into the dark catacombs where many of my motives live.

What if I’m always moving in order to avoid ever being at the place where I’m gonna die?

That’s the sort of stupid non-sequitor that peoples’ subconsciouses come up with – the sort of thing that runs one’s life without ever being examined in the light of day. It’s just sneaky enough, and subtle enough, to become operative at a level just below awareness – strong enough to drive the generation of other ideas while never revealing itself.

So maybe I’m always ready to go to the NEXT place, to avoid dying at the current place where I’ve already said that “yep, right there – that’s where I’m gonna die”.

So I told Ethel about this revelation. And Ethel, being a “Moonstruck” fan, said the only thing that she could possibly say in that context –

Cosmo, I just want you to know that, no matter what you do, you’re still gonna die.”

She should have changed it to “…no matter where you live…” 🙂




  1. Steve Hilliard said:

    Great post Jim, I just want to say I re-subbed to DRS, after about 10 yrs off-list (and off the roads), bc I ran into old listposts from you and realized how much I enjoyed the list. Happy to rediscover your blog, and to discover that you’re still “above the roses”.

    • Thanks, Steve! That was a nice thing to say!…and glad you’re back among the dead 🙂

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