August 7, 2015
In the parking lot of a small hardware store in Camp Verde, Arizona I was approached by two ladies about my age. They both had light colored shorts with tan lean legs stretching beneath and cropped hair that bounced with excitement. Their wide smiles reminded me I needed to watch my attitude when faced with the frequent frustrations of road-travel—the endless number of roads without signs that took me miles in the wrong direction and then forced me to make an 12-point u-turn on a narrow road while towing a trailer.
“We saw you pull in and looked up your website. We just followed you on Facebook. We just love what you are doing.”
The one with white-blonde hair finished the other’s sentence, “You know—women traveling alone – towing things! My partner and I were just talking about buying an RV and taking a year off.”
Aren’t you lonely?
You don’t have a dog—aren’t you worried?
Is it hard towing?
A few answers: Not usually. Does a dog prevent worry? And, I can learn anything—if I want to (sometimes I don’t want to and so I hire a guy). These were typical questions. Where was the man to help me, guide me, fix me? Why didn’t I have a dog for protection? Wasn’t I lonely, depressed, scared? Did I ever meet any creepy guys on the road? How did I know where to go?
Seriously people? It’s not the 1800s. Ladies, you can do this—solo or not. Frankly, I like the solo aspect. Peace. Quiet. Reading or hiking or seeing the sights I want to see when I want to see them. I didn’t have to visit sports museums or battlefields. I didn’t have to ask permission to buy an old tin wall hanging that brought back memories from the 70s. Is that selfish? Not if I’m alone.
But I get it. Not everyone has an interest in back-roads car travel, quiet evenings around a campfire, or examining unusual rocks on a hiking trail. A long time ago, I was married to a sales exec who preferred 5-star hotels with lavish golf courses, BMWs, Armani suits, and cocktail parties where he could weave his counterfeit tales to impress the gullible. But, those are the wrappers many prefer.
In a Santa Ysabel parking lot a 40-something guy in a gleaming silver convertible pulled up next to me, “Why are you doing this?” He had just the one question delivered short and quick through the blinding light coming from his extra white teeth. I detected a tone of judgment in his voice. From the high view in my SUV I could see inside his little car. On the passenger seat was a running laptop with a heavily worded document on the screen. Was he reading and driving? In the center console were two cell phones—one plugged in to charge, and on the floor an open briefcase that looked empty except for a small notebook tucked in a top pocket next to another cell phone. Three cell phones?
I had two answers to his question—one I answered silently in my head: Because my life had become a cell phone with too many apps that didn’t work as advertised, kept crashing my phone and bored me after two days.
I was up the curb now and pushing open the door of the small corner market. I clicked my car remote twice so the horn would indicate the door was locked and turned toward him and, out loud, gave him my short out-loud answer.
“Because my life-of-things began to bore me.”
“Things you own end up owning you.”
Tyler Durden, Fight Club