As I mentioned last time, I visited Boston this weekend. My friend Pookie lives in Boston, and I went to visit her in her business school habitat. I felt awfully clever for scheduling my visit to see Pookie at the height of leaf season. The weather was gorgeous. Just look:
(Hello solitary skuller! Yes, the weather is quite beautiful!)

[Begin very long background story.] One summer, several years ago, I visited Montana to attend a “free market environmentalism” seminar. Turns out, most of the people there really wanted to talk about free market approaches to environmentalism. Me? I was there for the free trip to Montana. And also for the Moose Drool —————————————————>

So Montana, with its Moose Drool and huge outdoor spaces and its total embracing of the wearing of jeans and t-shirts EVERY DAY, was a very nice place. I was so inspired by the mountains of Montana that instead of being responsible and getting a career- related internship the next summer, I moved to Vail. I worked as a bartender and at a candy store.

Underneath the candy store was a bar and club called, appropriately enough, “the Club.” Vail is a weird place, populated entirely by rich ski bunnies and the people who serve them. The people who serve them all know each other, and they all work in restaurants and bars and clubs and retail stores, such that by the end of the summer I could pretty much walk into any bar or restaurant in the village and get cheap or free beer or food, since the guys giving it to me knew I would do the same for them when they walked into the bar or the candy store. It was a great deal.

This story is getting long. Perhaps a picture of New Hampshire leaves would make it go faster? Let’s try that.
(Ah. Leaves. So pretty!)

Anyway, the Club was a great place to hang out after work because (a) they gave me unlimited coors lights for 25 cents each, and (b) their house “band” was a guy with a guitar who played all the classic folksy, strumming guitar songs. He also was very good about taking requests.

I really loved living in Vail. I loved that I was far away from my family and my school and I was just hanging out outside in the mountains a lot and also that no one seemed interested in where I went to school or what I was planning on doing as a career or why I wasn’t more motivated to go into consulting.

During that summer in Vail, a dream of someday living in a small mountain town really took root. I have this idea that after I get my law degree John and I could move to Bozeman Montana or Bend Oregon and make a nice group of fellow city-refugee friends and we could have a near-perfect life spending time outdoors, raising kids who understand and appreciate nature, and hosting casual but elegant dinner parties out on the porch looking at the hills and the trees and the fireflies in the summer.

[End really long back story.] So on Friday, Pookie and I went to a folk show in a little club in Boston. Sitting there, listening to the two earnest, harmonizing singer-songwriters, I wished more than anything that instead of in a basement club in Boston I was at a local bar in Montana, and that when the night was over I’d get to go back to my well-appointed yet rustic cabin and in the morning I’d go for a quick hike then come home to whip up some multigrain pancakes topped with the berries I’d picked on the morning walk.

I mean honestly, how could you not want to live near places like this?

Anyway, I know, in my heart of hearts, that this vision is kind of, um, unrealistic. As John has pointed out, I might be able to hang out a shingle and have a solitary law practice in this imaginary perfect small town, but he might have a hard time finding gainful employment. Plus, I realize that small town America is not just the charming, quaint, well-educated outdoorsy mecca that I’m imagining, and is in fact often a little repressive and decidedly not supportive of my politics.

But I can still dream. When we were driving to New Hampshire to take a hike, Pookie and I came across a small town that was filled with hundreds of scarecrows.

It was the Annual Town Scarecrow Festival, and from the looks of things, everyone in town had made a scarecrow. How charming! How small-town wonderful! I MUST MOVE HERE RIGHT NOW.

But then, as if to prove my point that small town America is not the peaceful idyll I imagine it to be, we found him: The Bad Seed Scarecrow:

Baggy pants? Check. Beanie? Check. Sinister looking hoodie? Check. SPRAY CAN IN HAND? Check!

So I guess even in middle of nowhere New Hampshire, you’re never safe from gangsters and the scourge of graffiti. Sigh.

And that is what I did on my Autumn Vacation to Boston. The end.