I really do try not to get weird about this…

As regular readers know, trips to any city are not common with me, and not really all that welcome*. And on those occasions when such visits are unavoidable I find myself acting like I’m visiting a completely foreign country – and in a sense I am. Thing is, when I used to visit actually foreign countries on business, one of my main concerns was to not let my complete lack of people skills lead me into some sort of really embarrassing international incident. I was not always successful**.

Anyway. I just returned from my second expedition into the world of middle class city folk. Yes, unattended I visited a Trader Joe’s.

And you know what? I like to make a big deal about eating cheap, but I have forgotten that when I actually do have to buy food from a store I’m generally paying a lot more than you…


And generally for a lot less.

Since I’m unusually (and serendipititously – you know how I’m always going on about synchronicity?) okay for cash at present, and since I’m separated from my usual enormous pantry of long-term food, I have decided to eat like a regular American to the extent that it’s possible and convenient. I even bought another loaf of bread this morning, though to be honest it was really only because I forgot to pack bread bags (and now I have two, and there’s a perfectly good oven right here, so soon I’ll be able to eat good bread again.) So this morning I set out on a more extensive expedition, later in the morning when the stores would be open. And … it was weird. I’ve always enjoyed Trader Joe’s, a chain I first encountered in California many years ago and which my then-wife had to drag me into because I thought it was hippy-dippy vegan bullshit – and it does kind of pose like that a bit, I mean the word Organic appears a lot, but that’s only a pose and actually there’s really good middle-class packaged food for (relatively) really good prices and it appears that hasn’t changed a whole lot. So I went in with my shopping list, and it was very clean and very friendly and nice but I’ve been a very long time in the boonies and it really does feel like a foreign country. One I’m not especially anxious to move back to. By week after next I’m going to be howling for the desert, is all I’m saying.

But the thing with the bicycle isn’t going to be the big honking deal I was afraid it would be, once my ass stops aching.

ETA: And I think I’m not the only one missing home…



*except for showers. Showers are awesome.

**I never actually started a war. But there really are places I would not be welcome to return. I was young.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to I really do try not to get weird about this…

  1. Judy says:

    Do you have a Sprouts close by? Similar to Trader Joe’s.

  2. Joel says:

    There is a Sprouts down the road from the TJ. I’ve never been in one.

  3. Beans says:

    What keeps you from setting up an overhead hot water heater fueled by wood or gas to take a shower with? Only fills when you need it, made from 55 gallon drum or something similar.

    If the stupid burners can do it at Burning Man, and the Scadians can do it at Pennsic and GulfWars, then you, Mr. Desert Hermit Engineer Guy can rig one that would be the envy of all, an outdoor hot water shower. If you need to close it off from winds, you can use roofing metal or whatever. And you could put a bench in there for you to sit on so you don’t have to freak out for being short on one side.

    Make it look fancy, like a water tower for an old steam railroad line, or something neatly similar.

    I mean, just because you live in the back beyond doesn’t mean you can’t shower with that crappy well water. If the water will make it through a hose, then it’s good enough to shower with.

    Or take a bath in a cast-iron tub or pressed-steel stock watering trough, with a little help from a mesquite fire below.

    Come on, man. You are the king of Desert Hermit innovation. Heck, the tub could even be used for washing clothes if you absolutely need one.

    And you’d make Zelda happy, very happy, if you took regular long, luxurious, soap-filled baths or showers.

    (Note: After doing heavy martial arts, I have showered with nasty well water, too. With enough soap or Dawn dishwashing liquid (hey, if it’s good enough to save a seagull, it’s good enough for my greasy skin) I will still come out better smelling and cleaner than if I didn’t shower or hose off with crappy well water (and Florida has some really crappy well water, semi-salty sulfurous stuff that will clog regular pipes just as quickly as the stuff you deal with.))

    Come on, now that you have a porch…

  4. Joel says:

    Could I put together a functioning water heater that would work in a shower? Of course I could. Wouldn’t even need to improvise.

    It would work approximately one season. The dissolved calcium in the water (836 PPM the last time I measured it) regards any orifice as a not-very-challenging hole to be plugged. Not much of a problem with cold water, but it inevitably and rather quickly plugs every hole when the water is hot. (calcium build-up from water evaporated in a sand-plugged 1 1/2″ standing pipe actually further plugged the pipe once the sand was removed.)

    Simple fact: The only functioning water heaters in the Gulch run downstream from elaborate and expensive water softener systems.

  5. I used one similar to what Kentucky linked to for a couple years – definitely recommend. They don’t have to be heated via solar – I used to fill mine from a large kettle and then add cool water to moderate the temp to taste. Make sure the handle area where you hook or tie it is well re-enforced ’cause that’s the area that will fail first. The one linked probably has some kind of bar along the top that spreads the weight of the bag – keeps it from tearing through.

    Put down some pavers or flagstones under where you tie it – get a table and chair of cheap molded plastic – and you can have a shower with a view!

To the stake with the heretic!