Yesterday, we packed up the whole family and went to a big RV and camper show. It was An Event. Apparently this is some sort of rite of passage in Otto’s family, as they spent many summers camping and went to every RV show that came to town. I cannot be certain, of course, because Otto and I are not having any (more) kids, but I doubt that he would’ve been more excited to watch his first child being born than he was to sweep us all into the expo center and watch as we took in the rows and rows of shiny campers.
(Actually, strike that. This was significantly less messy than childbirth, even when you factor in Monkey eating fried chicken for lunch. So I’m gonna have to say that this was definitely MORE exciting for Otto than even a whole new human would be.)
Believe you me, it was a Very Exciting Day.
We were ostensibly getting an idea of the available features on various models, and sorting out what we might like to “someday” buy. The fantasy, of course, is that we go to the show, figure out what we want, and then go buy that at some point. The REALITY, on the other hand, is that we will talk about it for years, and right around the time that the kids are old enough that they would rather swallow their own faces than be forced to go camping with their parents, we will buy someone’s nasty old pop-up off of Craigslist for $15 and three chickens and then spend our vacation trying to repair the crank handle that falls off upon first usage with a stick, three drinking straws, and a pair of dirty socks.
Otto is well aware of this, by the way. Not that it dampened his spirits any. We’d been inside the show for about thirty seconds when he turned to me with a HUGE grin and swept me up in a crushing hug. “I am SO HAPPY right now,” he whispered with emotion.
“You’re a very simple man, darling,” I responded with a kiss and a pat.
The children, of course, quickly realized that this was better than Disneyworld. They charged into camper after camper, checking out the amenities (the bathrooms were FASCINATING to them), climbing on the beds, and each time in apparent disbelief that the owners would smile and indulge their romping, and no one told them to stop, even though they were putting their shoes on everything and my head didn’t explode even once.
Chickadee favored any model which featured bunk beds, especially the kind where there was any sort of loft high enough to require a ladder. “I can sleep up here,” she announced, over and over, as if we were there to select our new home and once she approved a location for the laying down of her royal head we had her blessing to fork over the cash.
Monkey quickly discovered two things which delighted him to no end: One, that most of the mid-size models had a little closet space suitable for hiding in, and two, that there was often a space on either side of the main bed intended to be sort of a nightstand area, but with a cabinet above it—exactly the right size for a small boy to fold himself into like a cat.
All day long, he kept running ahead of us and locating and darting into closets. All day long, we would call out, “Monkey! Come out of the closet, Monkey! We love you no matter what!” It NEVER STOPPED BEING FUNNY. Watching other people’s reactions was pretty priceless, too. (Why yes, we ARE easily amused.)
I do not come from a camping family, so this was all new to me. Otto went on and on about various hitches and tow vehicles and I tried to absorb all of this information while setting aside the fact that many of the pop-ups had toilets but no separate bathroom.
Did you know this? The trailers and RVs had proper bathrooms, you know, with a door and everything. Sure, most of them were teeny, but at least they were bathROOMs. The “nicer” pop-ups often had a commode just… sitting there. Say, right next to the kitchen table.
“What the hell is THIS?” I screeched, the first time we saw one.
“It’s a toilet…?” answered Otto, obviously concerned that perhaps I’d hit my head coming out of the last camper. “I thought you said you WANTED one with a toilet.”
“Sure, yes, but not where you’re the breakfast entertainment when you sit down to pee!”
“Well, this is just for EMERGENCIES,” he tried to explain.
“I have never had the sort of emergency where I needed to PEE IN THE KITCHEN,” I maintained.
In some cases, those exposed toilets had an available little curtain to pull around it. Because THAT totally makes it private and stench-free.
There were also quite a lot of models where the bathroom was one sort of multi-purpose stall, with a shower that CONTAINED a commode. Dude, I am all for saving space and everything, but WHAT THE HELL?? That was only slightly preferable to the fully exposed toilet in the kitchen.
(Oh, the things I learned yesterday.)
The children quickly picked out a $300,000 RV as their vehicle of choice. It had buttery leather couches and FOUR TELEVISION SETS. We pointed out that this camper was worth more than our house. And our pool. And our land. And our cars. COMBINED. But they maintained that this was the way to go. I told them that as soon as they coughed up 300 grand I would go right out and buy them one.
“No fair,” grumped Chickadee.
“Indeed,” I agreed.
Still, it wasn’t a bad way to spend a day.