Thingish Things

Going for It

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 15•11



Met an inn owner in Bartlett Village, NH this morning –a British expat who abandoned New York City with his wife after 9-11 for a new life in the woods. He had been a banker; she an advertising executive. This particular morning they were flipping omelets –good ones –pouring coffee, and generously advising guests on local attractions. They appeared to be quite happy doing it.

I was green with envy while chatting with this owner. Here was a guy who had actually done it. He had gotten out. He had escaped the madness.

It was breakfast rush hour and guests were waiting on eggs, so I asked him only a couple of inane, cursory questions: (while my Blackberry buzzed like a vibrator inside my pocket) “how are the winters? Is this your busy season?” “You must go through a ton of bacon…” But what I wanted to do was yank him by the collar to the closest table and demand, “How did you do it? How did you pull this off? Tell me, damn it, tell me!”

His has been my dream for going on 25 years. Not so much running an inn –it’s probably back-breaking work –but escaping from the gravitational pull of New York City. From its pace, expenses, and competitiveness.

Whenever I leave New York’s sphere of influence, moments of clarity wash over me. I ask myself over and over again why do we have to live this frenetic lifestyle? Why are we burning, at a rabbit’s pace, our few days on earth with appointments, deadlines, and endless tactical career moves? Why do we have to live where everything is so back-breakingly expensive? Sure life is exciting, but is it worth it? Really. What’s it all about, Alphi?

Friends laugh at me mercilessly whenever I mention this wanderlust. “Who are you kidding?,” they chuckle. “You? You’d go out of your mind in a week.”

Maybe I would. But I’m beginning to realize that maybe it is not escaping to the country that most intrigues me. It is what that represents. Doing so means you have willingly abandoned the quest to “become someone’ in this world, whatever that means.

That’s what I really wanted to ask the inn owner about this morning. “Is this enough? Will you feel that you gave it your all at the end of the day? Did you give up larger dreams? Could you have been a contender? (Collar grab: Damn It! Could you!?”)

I needed a couple of days off. I’ll be back in the cycle on Monday.

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