That Odd Old Bastard Down the Road

I remember growing up in my small town of Newport, Maine and how the good townspeople there would talk about those older adults (you know those people who were in their 50’s or a little older) who did things differently than our families and friends did, I remember one by the name of “Bicycle Bill” and the comments that were made about him and his family.

The different rumors that would be started and run rampant based on their differences that could be seen from their homes or as they went down the road, no matter what the actual truth of the matter was.

Every town or larger metro area had their Odd Old Bastards Down the Road, that were talked about and often avoided/shunned because of their differences.

Is this how my neighbors around the neighborhood will start viewing me pretty soon, especially since I:

  • don’t have an apparent job and am home most of the time
  • always am walking a crazy dog, no matter what the weather is outside.
  • wave to people and say hi to everyone I see, when I walk by their house, if they are outside, even though I don’t usually stop and talk very often.
  • carry berries, apples or other things found along the road back to my house
  • seem to have something going on in my yard that involves lots of noise too often
  • have had bags of trash in hand, that I picked up along the sides of roads where I walk
  • don’t live in one of the MacMansion’s or more modest homes that were built recently in the neighborhood, instead we live in a modest home that has been here for over 20 years.
  • always seem to be either in exercise or dirty work clothes
  • have big garden in the yard, have fruit trees, raspberry bushes grape vines and other stuff to eat growing in our front yard, in addition to some flowers and ornamentals, instead of a large pristine lawn
  • don’t have sprayed pesticides signs on our lawn or around our house.
  • had the audacity to post my land, which some of my neighbors understood our reasons and but others were not as shall we say as generous.
  • have a pile of cow manure in my front yard and a pile of compost right beside it
  • and other things that I think of as pretty normal for living in the country, but some neighbors might look at as different from the mainstream where they lived before moving to the country

What would they think if they knew that I:

  • eat dandelions greens and common plantains that I pick fresh off my lawn for lunch on most days and plan to learn how to identify other edible “weeds” and forageable foods in the local area
  • am trying to learn more not-so-techie skills in today’s techie-world
  • resigned on good terms from a perfectly good job, in a field where I was fairly well respected and walked away from a decent salary, to live a simpler and more frugal lifestyle – pretty crazy huh
  • don’t have my own cell-phone and got rid of my iPhone in July
  • admit that we no longer have hundreds of television stations available to us and are seriously considering getting rid of basic cable
  • don’t really know what time it is, since I rarely wear a watch anymore
  • write stuff down in a notebook I carry around most of the time to help me remember stuff accurately
  • blog, use Twitter, Google + and Facebook

It seems that some consider me rather blunt and opinionated, which is probably true, but I try to be tactful,  I really do. 🙂  This is one of those behaviors that is semi-mainstream, but when added to the rest, probably simply reinforces my differences, especially if my views do not coincide with the prevailing wisdom of the majority.

I know that if I lived in town or a city, I would really be considered more than a little odd and most of the time I would thought of as “that Odd Old Bastard Down the Road”.  Here in semi-rural Maine, I am more accepted and left alone, because in rural areas you have to do things differently than you do in town to get by, but when town attitudes become prevalent in a formerly rural area, do a lot of people like me start to be looked at as odd?

Is this to be my lot in life as I grow older – to be the neighborhood’s odd old bastard down the road? Just because I don’t do things the same as “everybody else and am trying to march to the tune of different drummer.

Probably and you know what I am pretty comfortable with that.

What have you done to make a difference today?

2 thoughts on “That Odd Old Bastard Down the Road

  1. So…you're saying that your neighbors might realize that they live close to an odd bastard? In Maine? Isn't that kind of like living near a crazy hippy in Oregon?

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  2. You can't forget the old part :-). Naw you have to remember Maine has become more "cultured" than it used to be. I tend to stick out rather than stand-out, but that is okay, I am very comfortable with the direction that I am headed and seeming to be a bit odd means that people don't know what to make of me. Gotta keep'em guessing. 🙂

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