I started my own business in 2015, and that allowed me to begin working from home. When I lived in Nashville, that wasn’t a problem, because in East Nashville, everything is close. Heck, I used to ride my BMX bike to the gym.

However, I recently relocated from Nashville, to small-town Texas... and now nothing is close. My gym is 16 miles away. The HEB is 11 miles away. If I need a Costco run, that’s 24 miles. For bigger excursions, I’m on the road even longer.

Could I do the home gym thing? Sure, but that would mean investing $5,000+ into equipment, and sacrificing tons of space in my garage. (Not gonna happen.) Could I get groceries delivered? Sure, but they’re still getting delivered in a car.

The realities of American geography are stark. Once you get into “midsize town USA”, you realize how far away everything is, especially compared to our counterparts in other OEC nations. (Especially places like Japan, South Korea, etc.) Even discussing distances with friends in England, I realize how post automotive development influenced so much of the American west. In places like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, it’s obvious urban development happened before cars. However, in 1900, people forget the west was barely populated. The American west was shaped by the car, with automotive transportation in mind, backed by cheap, plentiful oil.

Around the same time I was moving to small town Texas, my sister moved to quasi-rural Oklahoma, and I was explaining the biggest decision I made in buying a home was being “no more than 45 miles” from my wife’s office. Yes, you read that correctly. To her, at 75 mph, a straight shot commute of 35-ish minutes isn’t a big deal. (She actually seems to enjoy her time listening to Ariana Grande.)

My sister has a (no shit) 55 mile drive from her house to the hospital she works at. She has a radar detector (a gift from me), and tends to drive 85-90MPH on her (extremely rural) commute. I cannot overstate this: People in rural, red states do this... a lot. On these long, straight, featureless roads, they do like 85 MPH at a clip, and it’s no big deal. They’re used to it. You just slow down a bit when your detector chirps at you, and then you speed back up. There are no hills to knock down the radar, or lasers.

Now you’d think, “Wow, she must spend a fortune on gas.” She does. But it doesn’t matter, because her mortgage looks more like a car payment for a 5 year old Hyundai, and she has a goddamn pool, with a fenced yard big enough to host an NFL training camp. Who cares about the cost of gas? Living is cheap.

TL;DR - To quote Rage Against The Machine, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”