Life in the Real Desert: Ever Decreasing Circles

Promotional still for Ever Decreasing Circles

Promotional still for Ever Decreasing Circles There was a British television show in the 1980s which starred the delightful Richard Briers (who starred with Felicity Kendal in the 1970s comedy The Good Life), Penelope Wilton (who gained a whole new legion of fans when she portrayed Simon Pegg’s mother in Shaun of the Dead “Stop pointing that gun at my mum!”) and made Peter Egan into a household name. The whole premise of the show was that Briers’ character was a controlling busy body who kept a close lid on his neighbors in their close (See what I did there?).

Waking this morning after a busy day doing nothing but discovering the backroads and side roads in Quartzsite, Arizona, (Biking well over  some 20 odd miles in the process.) where I was popping into various shops and in each one the staff recognized me; one actually gave me several DVD vouchers and it occurred to me that my life, like the title of the English sitcom, was also moving in ever decreasing circles.

I have to say that I really don’t mind this “shrinking” of my social circles and lifestyle, although there are a couple of folks I miss terribly. I do miss the plethora of films that I watched each week and the discussions of same afterward. I do not miss the swimming pool that came with the rented home I was sequestered in.

I do not miss the Las Vegas traffic, it seems every idiot who ever earned a drivers license moved to Vegas to terrify the locals, nor do I miss the casinos themselves. I do not gamble. It is too confusing. In the old days, when I was a world younger and in between wives, the slot machines I played took quarters, or nickels and paid out in the same currency. None of this ticket rubbish and machines where you cashed your ticket and so on.

Thinking of Ever Decreasing circles and the wonderful actor Richard Briers; he passed away in 2013 but not before he’d worked in the 2012 horror comedy Cockneys vs Zombies playing an old age pensioner and did two more voice over jobs after. Penelope Wilton is working steadily since Shaun of the Dead; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Downton Abbey to name but two projects. And Peter Egan is also busy, working on Downton Abbey as well as providing voice overs for a load of video games. The main cast of of Ever Decreasing Circles may be down one, but the two main survivors are doing very well.

In my world of ever decreasing circles,  life may have gotten more compact but other than occasional periods of  an annoying lack of focus and those silly moments of worrying about the state of my heath, I wake up each day with the hope that my flight from Vegas has left me wiser and, at the very least, a better writer than I was before my time with the GLV.

In terms of becoming more proficient in my writing skills, I do realize that the second paragraph ranks as one of the longest sentences in English history. This tendency to write overly long sentences is still a vice that, try as I might, continues to plague my work.

I will take the easy way out and blame it on writing in a crowded Burger King which is populated with an older crowd who apparently left their hearing aids at home. I am working on attaining that level of concentration that tunes out these overly loud patrons, until then, its earphones and iTunes to the rescue.

Earlier today I fed my craving for salad and stopped in Crazy Jerry’s (a place that serves some very tasty Chicken Fried Steak and a mean Chef’s Salad). While there another customer came in and the subject of WiFi in Quartzsite came up. It turns out that no one in this tiny town has decent Internet. Mainly, it seems, because there are no providers who care enough to circumvent the local telephone line providers.

Until some entrepreneurial individual comes in and sorts out the Internet situation in Quartzsite, I will have to work very hard at learning to cope in loud and crowded places that offer free WiFi. I leave you with this little nugget of wisdom, do not pay for the Internet on offer at the truck stops. In this town, at least, the quality is no better than that of any other place in town and for the price of a coffee the three fast food joints offer the exact  same service.

Flowers in the desert, taken outside Quartzsite, AZ
Cactus Flowers


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

12 thoughts on “Life in the Real Desert: Ever Decreasing Circles”

  1. I have internet through Verizon on my phone and a Comcast connection we don’t use. I should disconnect it.

    I wanted a new tablet or laptop then realized that I would not have a connection at home. There are plenty of wi-fi connections in town.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am learning that without Internet, I am a lost lamb! Still, I am finding a wealth of places here that offer free WiFi, one of which is a laundromat, and the local library also has (so-so) WiFi along with their computers, hooked up to the Internet. Not having Internet at home, apart from my phone’s hotspot, is doing my nut! You should, I imagine, be able to hook a new tablet of laptop to your Verizon hotspot. Just a thought… 🙂


  2. I’m glad at least you can get some service somewhere. Our local mall doesn’t have any wifi at all. Not even at Barnes and Noble where I expected that would have it for sure. We are retarded around here, too.


    1. That completely blows my mind, a mall with no WiFi??? And as for Barnes and Noble…The one near my old address in Vegas had a Starbucks in it with WiFi, I would have thought that all of them would have the same. Weird…


      1. That completely blows me away…I think it may have to do with businesses in this country fighting to keep the “young people” out. There seems to be a lot of resistance to the 21st century and its technology becoming a way of life. Yesterday I stopped in a restaurant for a chef salad (craving lettuce, tomato and other fresh veg not on a taco) and they do not have wifi either. Talking to the waitress/owner and another chap who came in for a patty melt (LOL) the conversation moved to the poor quality of Internet in Quartzsite. It seems that a lot of Internet providers cannot be bothered to upgrade their existing facilities, or even open new areas, as folks put up with abysmal service. Possibly because they do not have anything to compare it with. That is weird though that wifi doesn’t exist in your area…Even bleeding Quartzsite has wifi, even if it is abysmal!


      2. Every private home and business has WiFi, just no PUBLIC WiFi. Why not? We don’t have enough population to pressure businesses to fix a problem they don’t see as a problem. Low population density doesn’t give you a lot of leverage. We have good, fast WiFi at home, as do most people … maybe everyone. Only one provider most places, so without competition, well … you know. We are too far from the nearest junction box to get anything from the telephone company, so we have Charter or nothing. And Charter sucks.


      3. That is odd, although I’ll admit that the scarce population is most likely the predominant reason for no public WiFi. It does seem that America suffers from a lack of choice when it comes to providers. Quartzsite has a similar problem and this “the only game in town” scenario should change. I was amazed when I realized that WiFi in this country is actually worse than in the UK. Yet in Asia, the bloody lightbulbs enhance WiFi… Amazing…


      4. Obama keeps trying to get American business to upgrade WiFi because all of Europe and Asia has better, faster, more dependable WiFi than we do. He thinks we should be embarrassed to be so backward. I think he is right.

        Liked by 1 person

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