I finished Blink. I preferred Outliers, but I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly why. I just know it.Ahem. That’s kind of a Blink-joke.On vacation I began Buying a Piece of Paris, a memoir of a woman trying to buy an apartment in Paris. I’m also continuing What Your Childhood Memories Say about You . . . and What You Can Do about It.
Storms rolled across Alabama and the Florida panhandle as we drove south. By the time we hit the beach, the water was full of bright green seaweed stirred up by the winds and waves. But the kids dove in anyway and came out with tiny scraps of slippery, brilliant, saltwater plant life stuck to their cheeks and looped into their hair.After a day of splashing, sunning, relaxing, walking, and playing on the beach, we headed back to the campground. We stepped into the RV to gather clean clothes and shower bags.”Something stinks in here!” one of the girls exclaimed.”Oh, no,” I sighed. “Must be something in the fridge.””No, it’s in here!” she said, wrinkling up her nose as she stepped into the RV bathroom to grab her shampoo.I leaned in. It definitely smelled weird. “I’d better tell your papa. Maybe something’s wrong with the tank.” We’re new to the RV life and how to deal with the “black water” tank, which is a nice way of referencing the “waste” or “poo” tank. Maybe we need to drain it more often or drop in another of the deodorizing packets?”It’s in here, too!” one of the girls shouted. She was in the hallway, opening the clothes closet.”That could still be wafting down the hall from the fridge,” I said. “Or, if there’s some huge problem, maybe the tank is stinking up this whole place?”Everybody was moaning from the stench, so we rushed out of the RV. The Belgian Wonder was outside. “Can you check things in the RV?” I asked. “Something smells weird. Really weird.”He nodded and promised to investigate.The girls and I each had a shower at the bath house, luxuriating in the warm water washing away sand and salt. Suddenly, several stalls down, I heard my eldest shout, “Mom! It’s us!”I wasn’t sure what she said. “What?””It’s US!””What’s us?””It’s us! The smell! It’s US!“And then, lifting like steam from each shower stall, bursts of laughter rose as each of us came to the realization that the stench in the RV was, indeed, originating from us. Everywhere we turned in that tight RV space, we’d been smelling the unidentifiable, unpleasant aroma of damp-but-drying seaweed. My youngest daughter’s swimsuit bottoms were designed as a pair of shorts with little pockets; she flipped them inside out to discover wads of green that she rinsed away.Over the sound of running water, across the tops of several shower stalls, I tried to explain to the girls the old POGO cartoon that recognized, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” They didn’t get it. But I did. And I kept chuckling about us as we walked back to the campsite, holding our swimsuits at arm’s length.
Hurtling down the interstate in, basically, a small apartment, left me shaky for about half of the first day, as I adjusted to its noises rumbling over bumpy roads. This is not the quiet, smooth ride of a well-designed passenger vehicle. This is a house on wheels, not known for its aerodynamically fluid design. While the Belgian Wonder worked to center this giant moving castle in the lane, I tried to calm myself, slowing the adrenaline shooting through my system. Though it took half the day for me to relax and settle in, he earned my admiration.When I finally learned to rest into the space, I realized that if this was indeed a kind of moving castle, then I sat high on a throne overlooking the world as it slid past. Through walls of glass, hills undulated at movie-theater-proportions, magnified, vast. This is a wonderful way to admire the landscape, with views far more generous than what a Toyota Corolla can offer through its diminutive windshield.
Oh…am I supposed to be writing?
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All images by Ann Kroeker. All rights reserved. You may “pin” in a way that links back to this post.