Correction. In my last Rumination I wrote that I expected the upcoming campervan adventure to be “just about perfect.” It should have read “may possibly be a real good time.”
The first indication that I may have been overoptimistic appeared as part of a trial run to the Texas coast for a week of fishing and being with old friends. Actually, “trial run” also needs a little correction. I really was thinking more of a victory lap than a test. In either case, the van’s performance was flawless (and admittedly, a bit of a relief). Otherwise, there were signs that maybe we hadn’t thought this thing through.
The plan was to load the van with everything we would be taking on the big adventure to come. Since we didn’t yet have everything, we couldn’t do that. For that matter, we still don’t have everything. We had 90% though, and that should have been enough for us to figure out where to stow things, notably BK’s litter box. Trouble was, we ran out of time and had to shove it all inside any old way creating something like a teenager’s bedroom. We didn’t have to load the luggage rack, though, which was good. I’m still working on how to fit in the ladder that will be required to do that. I’m thinking of not using one, just do what children do when they want to get on a horse. Drive the van up next to a good-sized stump or something like that. I’ll work it out.
The fishing didn’t go as planned either; actually, it didn’t go at all. On the drive down, a little rash went from a job for Cortisone to something that required me to ring a bell and wear a sign saying “unclean.” I knew I was in trouble, when I took off my pants and shirt and the nice P.A. at the Urgent Care Center said, “Ew, that’s disgusting.” I would have been rejected for a job in a carnival sideshow for being overqualified.
And never mind a cure; even mere symptomatic relief was beyond the reach of modern medicine. An allergic reaction to a drug, they said. Stay out of the sun and don’t get overheated, they said. Yeah, sure. Looks like you’ll just have to ride it out, they said. Then, the drug regimen that was supposed to counteract the reaction to a drug (exactly which one is not clear) turned out to have its own unpleasant side effects.
I had been thinking of the big trip as something along the lines of a Joseph Campbell hero’s quest, but it was looking more like a National Lampoon vacation. We performed a chorus or two of Chesterton and carried on. “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.”
During the week of being an Onion headline (“Tiny Tim has a brush with Ebola”), the better boys went off to catch a string of fish seldom equaled in size and all-around magnificence. That would have pushed me into self-pity but for the pleasure of being with old friends. A couple of evenings were particularly memorable for the the Melcher sisters’ performance of family stories. One would start and one or two of the others would say “that’s not how it happened,” and it would go on from there. It was very entertaining, this Gulf Coast rendering of Rashomon. Not to quibble, but to follow the action required a lot of head swiveling like watching a tennis match, and by the end of the week, my neck seized up sort of like an overheated VW engine.
Putting up the tent and attaching it properly to the van looks to be challenging, so we meant to practice it while at the coast. But it’s tough to pitch a tent in Texas in July while staying out of the sun and not getting overheated as advised. So, somewhere in high cool New Mexico, we’re going to have a go at it without a single rehearsal.
I hadn’t scheduled any sick leave, but I took some anyway, so we didn’t leave on August 1 as planned. Hope to be on the road when this arrives in your inbox. Other than trying to get well, I’ve done too little to prepare for even this later departure, and I’m leaving behind a contrail of sloughed off skin.
But we’re going, and as I said above, “it may possibly be a real good time.”