You Know it’s There


I can’t keep writing depressing stuff. They’ve already shuffled me toward the back. I get that. Man, but I’m not depressed. This is a weird, heavy period in my life. Well, I mean, we’re getting around the bend. Tough times. We’re getting through it, is what I mean. Jezus…

…It’s a treat to write on a keypad that isn’t muddled with fructose juice and Xanthan gum. There is a point, on that other keyboard: a t becomes a j, and the comma key triggers unpredictable responses.

Weird Connections…

Phew, the way these keys flow. And then, of course I begin to mistrust the uniformity. Every key-pad should be different and unique, so that you have to go searching, and figuring, before you can write a phrase.

I have written to you about the hazards of toxins; but I will douse myself in “Off!” to keep from being chomped (by mosquitoes). These skinny, bleeding, little things are eating me alive!

Something is happening.

Things happen out here that I can’t describe. If I ever leave the country, the only place to go from here is desert. Fat flies are dive-bombing into my wine. I drink their gizzards.


There is a guy who drives by here, many times a day, on this incredible, I’m assuming custom-made, three-wheeled motorcycle. It is blue, sits wide, and the guy who rides it looks like a Norse God. He rides in a black-leather jacket and wears a long, white beard. The trike is low-slung; the fuel canister is strapped down with a couple of metal bands. It’s a badass set-up, and not the only one around here.

Up here we’ve got super-charged Firebirds, a division of jacked-up trucks, and a cavalry of dancing horses. Tradition abounds, but I like these custom jobbees the best. I’ve heard rumor of people stringing together helicopters out of steel tubing, lawnmower engines, and bailing wire. These things fly—I am not saying you should try it. I’m really not. DON’T TRY IT!


There were so many people, back in that early age of flight, who would willingly and gladly exchange their lives, for a chance to resist gravity. Gravity is the force that gives us the chance to live—it keeps us planted on the ground. So it’s not puzzling that the opportunity to escape gravity is attractive. Life challenges that which feeds it.

Now flying is cheap and crowded. It’s more technical—scheduled and coordinated—than it is freeing.

When I flew as a kid we used to dress up in store-bought fancy dark-wool or linen suits before we set foot aboard a plane. This was way back in the “Golden Age of Flying,” when the Captains pinned plastic shields to your chest and the stewardesses served your parents hyped-up gin and tonics, or vodka cranberries. This was back in the age of avoidance, before everyone understood exactly what you were up to.

Ignorance is a funny word, with its root right there in “ignore,” as in “pay no attention to,” even though you know damn well it is there.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.