July 4, 2016
On BOB’s starboard side is a couple from the suburbs of Portland. They have a Class A, a truck, a boat, a Labrador, a large herding mix, and a small, white, fluffy dog that could fit in a sandwich bag. The man is always busy. I chatted with him briefly once while he was puttering, which is how I know where they live. I rarely see the woman, other than when she is walking or carrying her tiny dog. Her hair is the same color as yellow American cheese. I closed my windows and door last night before the sun set to avoid heat loss inside BOB. Apparently, the man thought I closed up because his campfire smoke was blowing into my RV. I learned this when he knocked on my door and handed me a plastic cocktail cup full of crab he'd caught, apologizing for the smoke. "Did you catch this today?" I asked after explaining why my door was closed. "No, I caught it two days ago," he corrected. Great, I thought: a serving of E. coli. Nevertheless, I ate the crab with its homemade cocktail sauce, and it was the best I've ever eaten! Note to self: close up BOB when the people beside him are grilling, and they'll bring me food.
Three truck campers have been parked behind me since Friday. The one with an old couple and three dogs (a standard poodle, a Chihuahua, and a bulldog) left this morning. For three days, they mostly just sat at their picnic bench or in their camp chairs, changing from place to place either for comfort or to follow the sun. There are four dogs between the other two truck campers: a French bulldog, a pug, an English bulldog, and a large, goofy-eared mutt named Bubba who yowls a lot. The three squished-faced dogs are all in a pen and Bubba is tied to the red truck. There are 30-40 people staying in these two trucks, half of whom are teenagers. Yesterday, two of the teenage girls decided to serenade each other - a cattery would be more melodious than they. Fortunately, one of their mothers told them to stop in relatively short order.
Why did people bring teenagers to RV parks? Oh, I know: so they can watch movies, thumb their smartphones, stuff their faces with junk food, and make runs to Starbucks and fast food restaurants in Tillamook. It's too bad there is nowhere else for them to do these things, say, perhaps, at home! Short of crabbing or clamming, there is nothing to do at this RV park: there is no pool, no game room, nothing. The space around their trucks is strewn with bicycles, yard games, yard art, dog bowls, and towels. The picnic table between the truck campers hasn't been cleared of food and beverages since they arrived. If they were your neighbors back home, you'd put your house up for sale.
There’s a guy in the park with a bunch of stickers on his truck. I hate vehicle stickers, with three exceptions: “Mother-in-law in trunk,” “My kid beat up your honor student," and, "0.0." The last is my favorite, especially when it’s affixed to a gas-guzzler dragging its muffler. It's also the only sticker I have ever been tempted to get, since I have neither a mother-in-law nor children. Whoever started the "Baby on board" movement should be drawn and quartered. What, really, is behind the message? My precious cargo is more precious than your precious cargo? Really? Your baby's life is more important than another human’s life so I should be extra careful to obey the rules of the road when following or passing you? Fuck you. Stay home. And don't take your fucking baby camping.
But wait, there’s more – and it’s worse! There is a guy in the park with a Class A on which is painted his name and profession, as well his dog's face and name. He's a "novelist." Interesting. It's too bad that "Asshole" isn't a profession, otherwise I'd put that and my name on BOB.
I’m sitting at my picnic table. It's shaded by my awning and the temperature is pleasantly cool. It is the first time since I've been RVing that I have spent any time sitting outside. Often, it has been too sunny or windy, or I have been too busy fixing or cleaning BOB.
The truck campers, in addition to their multitudes of people and dogs, have several other vehicles associated with their troop. One, a five-seater, just disgorged a dozen of them, no doubt returning from a trip to McDonald's. The squished face dogs are now loose, and Bubba is screaming because he isn’t. When their geriatric friends departed this morning they occupied their site as well. I've seen fewer things and less people at a flea market. Their current activity suggests they are packing to leave, but check-out was three-and-a-half hours ago.
One of truck camper women just walked by me with the pug and French bulldog, so I asked, "Are all of the dogs yours?” “No, just these two. The English bulldog belongs to my sister, and the mutt belongs to her son.” she responded. In the background I can hear the adult men trying to figure out whose stuff is whose. Will the sorting also include the wives and teens? I can only hope. One of the teenage girls needs gas for her car; another is informing her father that only three of the bikes are hers.
The novelist is talking to one the truck camper men who is explaining to him that only some of them are leaving. The novelist sees me and my dogs sitting outside. The novelist is coming to talk to me. Oh, goody.
I dislike people who only talk about themselves. Years ago, NYNEX did these fabulous Yellow Page commercials which were double entendres. My favorite was a cocktail party scene where this woman was droning on about herself. Then she declared, "Enough about me! Let's talk about you! How do you like my dress?" The camera then zoomed into VANITY CASES in the Yellow Pages. I now know a lot about the novelist – much more than his name. It’s my fault because I asked him a question, and followed up, and followed up, and followed up. When he finished answering my questions with unnecessary detail, he asked me what I do. I said that I was full-time RVing until I got a new job. He didn’t follow-up. Instead, he asked, “Would you like to stop by for coffee later?” Because you need an audience, I thought to myself as I responded, "Thank you, but I don't drink coffee in the evening." “How about in the morning?” he persisted. "Thank you, but I'm leaving early." I said, ending the matter. He never even asked me my name.
While I was getting to know the novelist, two clown cars with all 30-40 truck campers and the four dogs exited the park. The disarray of their sites made their exodus look as though it had been done in apocalyptic haste.
In an attempt to listen to “All Things Considered” on OPB on TuneIn Radio tonight, I inadvertently selected KUOW from Seattle. KUOW is sponsored by blueberries. That's cool, if you like blueberries, which I do, unless they're unripe or mushy. Both OPB and KUOW were playing “All Things Considered,” but I wanted to hear the local coverage from OPB. When I was in Washington and listening to KUOW, all the local stories were about the bodies that were pulled from rivers flowing through the Cascades. The friend of one deceased woman explained that she went into the Cowlitz River at one in the morning for its healing powers. Well, whatever she needed healed certainly isn't bothering her anymore. She should have had a blueberry instead.
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Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.