Just saying, RV generators are the enemy of quietude-seekers
I’ve had some brilliant, peaceful, coastal windy camping days. All of my neighbors have been kind, quiet and respectful. The woman to my right, Clarita, lives in San Luis Obispo and is on a fixed income; she saves up her gas dollars—walks instead of drives–so she can afford an occasional four-day escape. The woman on my left is also camping solo in her well-used Subaru Outback. Very quiet. Very minimalistic compared to Clarita who has pink flamingos and spinning flowers and full-on, four-course barbecue dinners for herself. She calls herself “old and cranky” and follows the beat of her own drummer. “I do what’s right for me,” she kinda snaps, explaining why she refused my help as she tried to put up her tent on a particularly breezy afternoon. Me, I’m a combination of both neighbors with checkered tablecloths, my peace flag that I drape wherever I camp, my twinkle lights, yummy tofu and kale curry and rice that provided three leftover meals, and my cool electric bike, last year’s birthday gift from my kiddos. Unfortunately, the quiet neighbor quietly left early in the morning and The King Kong of Generator Annoyance moved in. The couple, about my age, are griping and yelling at each other and I am sooooooo glad I am in my Zen Zone of Solitude.
It’s been an interesting trip so far, not because of the things I’m doing. I’m doing very little camping in my VW European camper along the Central Coast. But because I’m settling into what it’s like to really be alone. I have my dog, Monet, and the strangers I meet and talk to. I have my books, my music, my art, my journal—my thoughts. A lot of thoughts.
Is selling the house the right thing?
Is being a vagabond traveler for a year—-smart?
Am I leaving my family in the dust?
Am a schmuck for not swooping in and caring for Bruce?
Will being alone turn me into a hermit crab?
Will I become grouchy?
Will I become a drug addict?
Will I get healthier minus the stress?
Will I meet a soulmate?
(Do soulmates even exist?)
Will the stocks crash?
Multiply these questions by a million wondering thoughts and this is how solo-clearing-the-deck has impacted me.
And my conclusion? It’s OK and it’s OK.
Because when you’re busy, when you’re responsible, when you’re paddling in survival mode, you just don’t have time to ask questions. Not really. You just need to get through the day, and the next, until it’s your vacation and you’re camping next to King Kong Generator Guy or in Maui next to the sloppy Spring Break Crew from the Team Mobile Conference and you get ticked off because “this is my time” to kick back and relax and “Why are they being so selfish? I JUST NEED A BREAK!”
And that, I say in a giddy, almost dreamlike floating state, is what’s so great about being retired and vacationing alone: every single day is a vacation and that’s why I want to sell the house: I don’t want to be responsible for cleaning and brushing up and repairing and being house-broke. I want to see what’s out there. It could all be terrible. I could be making the biggest financial mistake of my life. “Once you move, you can’t go back. I hope you’re doing the right thing,” cautions my well-intended son. But when I close my eyes and shut out Mr. Generator, shift my focus, toss the fear into the burning embers—and breathe—I feel centered; I feel led.
It’s all an experiment, when you think about it. No one knows for sure about anything. Not whether this is the peak of the real estate market, not if your job is secure, not if you’ll stay healthy or get sick. We are all just doing our best and sinking into some kind of peaceful acceptance, while still planning, while still hoping, that life IZ good and getting better.
In a couple of days, I will turn 66. That sounds pretty old, even to me. But when I look at the lifeline on my right palm, something I’ve taken solace in since I was in high school, I think I have time for some adventures that I wish I could share with my homies, my entire family, because that’s how I am—if I’m having a good time I want you to as well.
But, it’s not to be. People are busy, working, fixing up their new/old fixer-uppers.
And I am left with my traveling dog, and my blog pals. I hope you can hear me. I hope you can see what I see. I hope you can feel the ocean breeze and feel the veil canopy of Spring and allow yourself to be drenched in the chorus of birds that are right there, wherever you are, serenading you, luring you into the swampy, hazy forest. The generator, it’s still there, pulsating away like a rabid dog, but so are the blue skies and 72 degree temps and that lovely bottle of Halter Ranch “Synthesis” and my grandson and big-hearted son who will be joining me in a few hours for my birthday weekend. Oh, and my cousin, my bestie, who will be making the drive here by herself—a first! What a person does for love.
Together, we’ll break bread, break open a few bottles of Paso wines and break the silence with screams of grandson joy, love and and a ton of fort-building. Happy weekend everyone. May each of you saturate yourself with the people, and the place, that brings you happiness.