Life on the Road

By Katiedid Langrock

June 6, 2020 5 min read

"Let's get a boat. I've been in a boat," I said to my husband.

"You want to buy a boat? Have you ever driven a boat?" he asked.

"OK, fine. Then let's get an RV."

"Have you ever driven an RV?" he asked.

"No."

"Have you ever even been inside an RV?" he asked.

"No," I replied. "But I'm sure there's nothing to it."

And that is how we became the proud owners of a used Forest River Sunseeker.

Actually, the conversation went a little more like this.

"Let's get a boat," I said, curled in a fetal position on the couch about midnight.

"We can't get a boat and sail away just because you are angry with your country," my husband replied.

"Why not? Moana did!"

"Yes, but she was a cartoon," my husband replied. "And she sailed away to save her country. We should stay and fight for what we believe in."

"OK, fine. Then let's get an RV."

But seeing as I'm repeatedly told this column is to be a respite from the bleakness of every other part of the news, I'll leave that part out.

As we walked to the office to sign the paperwork, I turned to my husband.

"I won't have to merge or anything, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm scared to drive this thing. I don't want to merge or turn or go above 15 miles per hour," I said. "Can I just stay in the right lane forever?"

"You do realize we just bought a house on wheels, right?

"Right. And we'll just be able to stay in the right lane indefinitely?"

"I don't think you understand the concept of driving."

We didn't really intend to buy a motorhome. It was a pipe dream still, really. We needed to move our bodies, to feel as if life wasn't controlling us anymore. We wanted to show our children the country, to show them the good and the bad, the beauty of contrast, the topography, the diversity. We wanted to show them people and places unfamiliar to them, to stretch our wings — or push out our sides, in RV-speak.

Many Americans must feel somewhat similarly, because RVs cannot stay on the lots. We drove 3 hours to a dealership that had numerous motorhomes I wanted to look at. By the time we arrived, all had sold — except for one. I guess it was impulsive.

It was 7 p.m. when we got the keys to our RV. We were intimidated by the prospect of driving it in the dark, and it had just begun storming.

When we were driving to the dealership, I had envisioned what my first night in a camper would feel like. I thought about how we'd pull up to a shady campground, where fellow nomads had set up their lots with twinkle lights and bonfires. There would be soft music playing and cold beer in the fridge. We'd tuck the children in to bed and sit outside under the stars, and my husband and I would look with wonder into each other's eyes, amazed we just did this crazy thing.

Instead, we slept in the dealership's parking lot. Not quite so romantic.

We had neglected to buy a surge protector, so we couldn't plug in during the lightning storm that loudly pounded down on our RV. And for the life of me, I could not figure out how to get the water to flow from our faucets. So instead of the romantic evening I'd envisioned, we had a smelly toilet, unwashed hands and, with no air conditioning, a stiflingly humid first night. It was shockingly uncomfortable. I guess change always is.

The next morning, when the dealership opened, I asked why we could not get water to flow in the RV. The worker calmly walked over to where our hose was attached to city water and turned the knob, letting the water flow in.

Oh. Right.

"Not everything is gonna be done for you, little girl," he said. He showed me how to fix the things I didn't know or didn't understand, and we were out of the discomfort of staying still and into the discomfort of going places.

When I finally took the wheel on our drive, I turned to my husband, pleadingly, and said, "Look at the map ahead. Are there any merges or lane changes you see?"

"Baby," he replied, "of course there are. That's all part of moving forward."

Let the journey begin.

Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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