Sunday, October 18, 2015

American Wonders

     Driving a metal box to a sanctioned campsite is a far romantic cry from a yurt, a camel and wilderness without footprints, but this is modern America. Buffalo no longer roam the plains. Rodents and bugs are the last free range creatures.
     I called friends who are currently motoring around Utah in a small RV that they bought second hand and fixed up. People who travel with them sleep in a tent outside. Leveling is done with blocks of wood, hand operated jacks, crawling in the dirt and most likely colorful expletives. When I reached my Dutch friend she was back in cell phone range at a campsite near Bryce Canyon. They had parked their modest camper next to a motor home sizable enough to provide shade. Their travel companions were also from the Netherlands. The exchange with their neighbors started out promising, but went south fast.
     The occupants of the rolling mansion offered a tour and my friends did not hesitate. Who wouldn’t want to see inside? Automated push button self-leveling was to be admired, but that might be where the envy ended. Under the counter lighting, four large TV’s all playing FOX news including the one mounted on the outside defied a spirit of adventure. His brother had purchased the same vehicle at a quantity discount. The owner of the giant RV inquired about the visiting couple’s occupations. Which is one way of determining status in America, but there could have been another reason. He was amazed that anyone could sleep in a tent outside of an RV. He must have wanted an explanation, but didn’t get one. The tent dwellers didn’t admit to being doctors either.     
     One of the Dutch people asked, “Is the budget crisis going to be resolved”, because they were concerned that national parks might be closed. The question had nothing to do with politics, but the response gave the foreign traveler’s a taste of America similar to chewing on aluminum foil. The owner of the large footprint, gas guzzling, broadcaster of mainstream crap news, self-leveling, ambient lit, wilderness experience behemoth blurted out, “Once we get that monkey out of the White House everything will go back to normal.”
      I pictured my friend’s faces while they stood in the belly of the beast listening to a derogatory, hypocrite’s opinion. It’s a free country so I would also add, fucking asshole. My friends must have needed a monumental amount of self-control not burst out laughing or take issue.
      And it gets better. The mammoth RV had the name “Dutch Star” plastered across the side and their shit drain pipe was connected to a sewer outlet directly under the picnic table where actual Dutch people sat for dinner. Welcome to America, which apparently used to be normal.