Dartmouth — Thirty-four-year-old mechanic Andrew Ritter told The Manatee this morning that just one week after “dropping out,” he is the happiest he’s been in years. He now lives with his wife Kate in a small cabin just outside of town.
“I quit all social media, I sold our TV, cut off the WiFi and cancelled our cellular data plan,” he explained, listing off on his fingers. “Since then, every day has been like a breath of fresh air.
“Take yesterday, for example — now there was a good day. The weather was nice, the sun was out, I chopped a bunch of wood, had a good meal, then me and Kate played a few rounds of crazy eights.”
He smiled at the memory. “Man, I wish every day could be like October 2nd, 2017.”
How does he keep this rural lifestyle from becoming monotonous?
“I think it’s important to always have something to look forward to,” he said. “For example, the wife and I have a couple of plane tickets to Las Vegas, Nevada this Thanksgiving.”
Although they’ve had the trip planned for a while now, he’s quick to point out that he’s never been much of a gambler. “We’re mostly just going for the shows,” he said with a shrug.
The cabin is kept pretty rustic, but clean. There is little sign of modernity: no television, no computer, just a large collection of board games and paperback books. A dog-eared copy of the O.J. Simpson memoir If I Did It lay open on the coffee table.
“Yeah, I’ve been flipping through that thing,” he said, shaking his head. “Man, that guy is all kinds of crazy. Thank god he’ll never get out.”
Ritter said he understands the temptation to allow yourself to get sucked into the media vortex, but that maybe tuning it all out every once in a while is more healthy.
“Listen, I know the world can seem like a crazy place sometimes,” he said, rapturously bobbing his head to 1989s Full Moon Fever, which was blaring from the record player behind him.
“But, as long as Tom Petty’s still out there making music, I think we’ll be all right.”