Fill The Void
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD - Right now, the only bill I’ve got is a post office box in Oglala, twelve bucks, twice a year. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
Sure, that could all change at any time, so I’m not boasting, but that’s one of the benefits of living simply. Ole Betsy, my truck, is 48 years old, and in the past two days, she’s delivered two loads of stove wood, and two loads of lodge wood without even breaking a sweat.
There’s no water bill, because there’s no water, a development I’ve been working on for three years, and they say I’m on the list. When it eventually arrives, the hookup to the line, it’ll be free.
There isn’t an electric bill because Lake Creek Electric won’t hook you up until you’ve got water, a Catch 22, but I don’t want their service anyway, since I’m generating my own power from the panel on the roof. The sun will run this computer, my string of tiny lights, a low-watt table lamp, and my coffee pot. What else do you need? Well, a refrigerator would be nice.
I don’t have a telephone, because I don’t like waking up to a ringing phone, and because I prefer telepathy (Not altogether reliable. People aren’t always in a receptive mode. And sometimes, when they are, they don’t act on it. “Are you guys picking up on my signals?” I ask the folks around here, and they say, “Yeah, it crossed my mind.”).
No TV since 1991 because there’s other things I’d rather be doing, except during the NCAA tournament, so I don’t have a cable or satellite bill.
There’s no loan or credit card bill, since I don’t own plastic. So, what’s the flip side? There’s got to be a downside to all this, right?
Well, the first is, it’s Pine Ridge. That takes a lot of appeal out of it already, doesn’t it?
You take friends, ceremonial life, and The Mission out of the equation, there’s no reason to be here.
Outdoor toilet? Yyyyyeah, that’s another factor. You can get by, but indoor plumbing would be nice. That can happen once the water arrives.
Heat? Wood stove. Hot water? On the wood stove. You need a truck and a chain saw.
Laundry? By hand, out of a bucket. Shower? Out of a bucket. Ain’t too many women who’d care to live under these conditions. Right away, I’d need to make a bathroom, and do something like install a solar shower. And mirrors. Well, yeah, everything would change. Curtains, furniture. Probably need to build her a house. Maybe in another state.