By Steve Hansen
Former QCS Managing Editor
Life gives most of us a choice between time and money.
The pursuit of money is usually the pursuit of stuff, and sadly, you end up so busy making money to pay for the stuff that you never get to enjoy it.
On the other hand, if a party now is going to make you happier than a Cadillac down the road, you may never get that Caddy, but you’ll remember the time you spent making it impossible.
After living in Tucumcari for eight years, I have new perspective on the pursuit of stuff and money.
The late George Carlin had a comedy routine about this pursuit in which he theorized that people stay in one house until it gets too full of stuff, then they move to a bigger house to fill it with more stuff.
When you live in Tucumcari, it doesn’t work like that. Tucumcari isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses’ stuff; it’s about keeping up what you have, because it’s hard to replace. Income opportunities in Tucumcari are limited and you have to drive a long way to find new stuff, big stuff at least.
When I miss the Los Angeles suburbs, which isn’t often, a trip to Amarillo returns me to the time when I could regularly join the crowds who parked shiny SUVs in shopping center parking lots and wandered between whole walls full of merchandise, buying too much of it.
I couldn’t afford most of the stuff I saw on the shelves in California, because basic living costs so much there. Now, I can’t afford most of the stuff I see in Amarillo, because Tucumcari’s super low cost of living is matched by income level.
If you live in Tucumcari, where you can’t buy a lot of stuff, you end up doing stuff.
In California, the time I can now spend on my yard, walking or volunteering was spent working or getting to work and back, which took all my time and energy and left me drained for much of anything but vegetating on weekends.
Given the choice now, I’ll take the time over the money. And the doing over the having.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: