When I describe my Fourth of July location at the Oceanside Harbor as a parking lot, I am not using the term as a metaphor. I was camped in a parking lot, inches from neighbors on either side. Slide-outs were not permitted to slide out, and when I left my RV I had to retract the stairs lest they cross the white line of the adjacent parking space, which did not belong to me. More experienced campers paid for two spaces to enjoy the luxury of a slide out and fixed stairs, albeit with no electricity or water.
Although numerous rather interesting and unusual (at least in my experience) events occurred, such as car alarms going off at all times of day and night, firecrackers launched at 3 a.m. on the Fourth, shouts of “It’s time to get up” accompanied by loud pounding on the RV parked next to mine (at 6 a.m.), and neighbors who shared their country-and-western soundtrack with those in the immediate vicinity (defined as roughly within the surrounding quarter mile), two quite exciting events occurred.
One was the traffic jam caused when the Costco delivery truck was unable to pass the black pick-up truck parked over the red line, thus illustrating why parking within the red line was required; and the second was the night of the Albert Concert.
The Great Costco Delivery Truck Traffic Jam. Why, you may very well wonder, was there a Costco truck in the parking lot in the first place? The answer, of course, is to make a delivery to the snack bar down the road. Said snack bar, by the way, ran out of large containers of water within hours. Apparently it didn’t occur to the owner/manager that a parking lot without hookups and full of RVs over the extended Fourth of July weekend might require additional water. I suspect the owner/manager used to work for the postal service. But my reasoning behind that observation belongs to a yet-to-be-written post.
Night of the Albert Concert. Albert, a musician in his late 50s, is the father of Albert Junior, who was celebrating his 40th birthday. Albert Junior, BTW, was with the loud country-and-western music group. By this time I was practicing the “if-you-can’t-beat-‘em, join-em” lifestyle. Albert Senior ended up using my generator to plug in his electric guitar and keyboard for his concert honoring Albert Junior’s Big Four-O. The use of my generator was prompted by the fact that we decided the cops would be less likely to throw a grey-haired old lady into the clinker for violating park nuisance regulations, particularly since I planned to play the senility card.
Albert’s concert was terrific and attracted hoards of drunken campers who sang and danced to his music. My fondest hope is that Albert goes on to great renown so that the people present will be able to tell their grandchildren that they were there the night he played the Oceanside Harbor.
Karel Becomes The Initiator. It was while at the Oceanside Harbor Parking Lot that I decided to become The Initiator. Fueled by beer and other legal-in-California-for-medical-reasons substances, it came to me that most people are actually friendly but reluctant to reach out to strangers. Since I’m travelling alone, the only way I’ll meet other people is if I reach out to them. Here’s a wrap-up of my results:
- Butch and his wife, Sadie, (she’s a school bus driver) advised me against putting a sign on the back of my RV stating, Rookie RV Driver. Please Be Patient. “Just look like you know what you’re doing,” they told me.
- Every summer, Allen and Susan sneak into a hotel/casino outdoor swimming pool. They gave me specific pointers on how to accomplish this feat and recommended their local favorite, which comes complete with a water slide and swim-up bar.
- I commented on the ingredients of the smoothies to the unmarried man behind me in line at the snack bar as a way to let him know I was friendly and it was safe to make my acquaintance, should he so desire. Next time I looked, he was no longer there.
As Meat Loaf observed in his song, two out of three ain’t bad.