I am a sucker for rabbit holes. Just recently I’ve fallen down one internet rabbit hole searching for George Floyd’s actual height (6 foot 6 inches), another explaining how epidemiologists conduct their own lives –at least a year yet before weddings, funerals, or concerts– and a third on The Prepared to determine the best solar charger “for when the SHTF”.
But the S has already HTF, which is why I’m glued to the computer.
It’s time for a vacation from all of it.
The S brought me home from India 12 days early and canceled my annual trip to Telluride for Mountainfilm. Same with the family cruise to Alaska scheduled for next month.
Biggest excitement recently was getting my teeth cleaned. Biggest thing on my calendar now is a hair appointment that’s 36 days away. We’ll see if it holds.
I’m thinking a vacation to Montana or Idaho would be nice, to get away from the daily case reports. I’d like to visit the little town of Ola, Idaho, where we watched the solar eclipse three years ago. (fresh farm eggs were $2/dozen.) I could rent a little camper van and have Greta and Marlowe for company. For years growing up, my family spent the entire summer living out of a trailer and so I have warm memories. All five kids, cat and dog of us would live out of a 21 foot trailer. We each got one drawer. My June birthday was always celebrated in the trailer with a Pepperidge Farm cake. For one night I didn’t need to help with the dishes.
Before you know it, I’m down another rabbit hole looking to rent a ClassB RV. The vans are tiny houses on wheels, a little baby kitchen, baby sleeping area, baby everything. My dogs are tiny, so it’s perfect. I’ll be able to drive it easily enough, taking my little bubble of safety with me all over the west. I’m poking around on Outdoorsy, which goes into reassuring detail about their Covid cleaning policies. But immediately snags appear. Most folks are not keen to share their van with Greta and Marlowe. The second, bigger, problem is that other people–many many other people–have had this idea before me.
RV rentals are up 650% this year and there’s no availability, except for the one ugly van someone made from Tinkertoys and that includes the owner’s bare feet in the photos.
The idea mutates. What if I BUY one and then sell it a few months later? Matt and Rebecca did that when they spent three months traveling around New Zealand. And so now I’m looking at floor plans and learning the difference between a two-way and a three-way refrigerator. One type sucks the heat OUT, the other pumps the cold IN. There are advantages and dis- to each depending upon humidity and how far off the grid you want to get. Me? I like my grid. Electricity, yes! Cell service, you bet. And WiFi, of course I want WiFi.
But even as a girl, I remember thinking how much work it was, washing dishes in the teeny tiny sink, conserving every drop of water, walking in the dark to the rest rooms half a mile away because we didn’t want to fill up the tank underneath our toilet. There were many hot hours at laundromats, and many more hot hours in the car, since the air conditioner would stress our Estate Wagon. But if there was a lot of work, there were many others to share it. When Matt and Rebecca bought the RV in New Zealand it was Matt AND Rebecca.
Adorable as Greta and Marlowe are, they do not help with chores. I am me. I’m tempted to say “just me”. I am not a “just” of course, but do I want to take on all the work? And there is no escape from this present. The news would follow me. I’d still need to have a mask and sanitizer at the ready, wash my hands all the time. And I do like popping over to Daddy’s for our bike ride and to see if the raspberry vines have coughed anything up. And to have Ariel over for fresh waffles with strawberries.
When so many are suffering so much it feels just wrong to think about loneliness. But there it is. The busyness of family is behind me, the partnership of marriage is behind me, and, it seems, the awkwardness of late life dating is also behind me.
And what is ahead? For any of us?
Just as I’m mooning about my bad RV plan, it hit me…. My birthday is just around the bend. Jessamyn has organized a small outside barbecue. It will be fun to actually see a few members of our family, even if none of us can get our hair done for at least 36 days or attend weddings or funerals for a year or more.
Ten years ago when I was in the throes of divorce misery Mama told me, “It won’t always be this way.” She was right then and, I suppose, she is right now.