Friday, June 4, 2010

RVs And Life Rafts



RVs and Life Rafts


June 4, 2010

            My wife and I live in a 38 foot recreational vehicle.  It’s a Type A motorcoach, in other words it’s a bus with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, everything we need to live comfortably.  It’s also fun.  There’s a “kid-in-a-fort” feeling about living in an RV.  It’s like taking an endless vacation.
Our first RV had taken us to Arches National Park in 2004.  Our campsite neighbors owned a new Type A, and they lived full time in their beautiful coach.  The idea stunned us.
            We were getting older, (we still are) and we needed a plan for the next ten or twenty years.  We had “X” amount of money.  We could use it as a perecentage payment on a mortgage.  We lived in notoriously overpriced Marin County.  A cottage with a bedroom would run half a mil, six fifty.  We were renting just such a cottage, and the monthly bite was nearly $2500.  It was insane.
            Or we could learn about RVs, buy one for cash and rent a spot in the local campground on a monthly basis.  For $750 a month we could park in a shady place with TV, electricity, water and plumbing.
            We would be making a major lifestyle change.  We didn’t know if it would work.  We were accustomed to living in houses.  I had observed, however, that we used about twenty percent of our house.  Our time was spent in the bedroom, where the big TV sat, where our desks and computers lived, where our pets hung out. 
            There was eighty percent of the house going to waste.
            After six months of diligent study and considerable terror, backsliding, mind-changing and procrastination, we bought a used 38 foot Newmar Mountain Aire motorcoach.
            It was in Florida.  My dad was in Florida and between dad and the owners’ video camera, we had a pretty clear idea what we were purchasing.
            We flew to Fort Lauderdale, picked up the coach and drove it four thousand miles back to the Bay Area.
            I wouldn’t want to live in a “stick house” again.  I’m never going back.  The RV is too much fun.
            If we had mortgaged a house, we would presently be up a certain creek without a means of propulsion.  By the way, there is an actual place called Shit Creek.  It’s in Ireland.
            The experience became my book, AVOIDING THE POTHOLES: ROAD STORIES IN A CHANGING AMERICA. 
            The world has become psychotic.  It’s getting a way premature oil change (coulda gone another trillion miles, at least).  When the gusher started spewing from the ocean floor, I decided unilaterally that the Age Of Science Fiction had officially begun.  This means that truth has become far stranger than fiction, and no writer (like me, for instance) can possibly invent anything more bizarre than the dystopia now being born in the United States. 
            Of course I won’t stop writing, but I’m taking myself out of competition with the daily news. 
            To quote Randi Rhodes:  THIS is the world in which we toil.