Even at the time, I recognized that my reaction was way out of proportion to the incident. But such is the nature of the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The previous day I had left Missy in her crate as I joined our small group of RV’ing Women (RVW) Solos for a tour of Ajo, Arizona, and lunch at a good old-fashioned Church rummage sale (Bought a book for 5 cents!). We were boondocking at the Ajo (pronounced “Ah’-ho”) golf course/country club for an annual Fiddlers’ Contest.
To my surprise, Missy greeted me at the door when I returned. Apparently I had neglected to secure the 2nd door of the crate. To my delight, she had done no damage. So when I left again later that day, this time to play Mexican Train with the group in the leader’s large and comfortable RV (a Class A), I left Missy lose.
Although the evening was full of fun, I happened to be seated next to The One in Every Crowd. I found her loud and obnoxious and disliked that she considered herself an expert on every, I mean EVERY, RV-related subject. Perhaps she does know what she’s talking about, I tried to convince myself; it just might behoove me to pay attention. That ploy didn’t work. The best I could manage was to refrain from strangling her.
As always, Missy was delighted to welcome me back home.
My dreams that night were awful, full of anxiety and frustration. I awoke unrested. And then saw what Missy had done during my second absence: Torn the screen door.
I fell apart. I sat outside in the sun and cried and cried. It was in this state that one of the RV Women found me.
“I can’t take it anymore,” I sobbed, pointing to the slight damage. “I can’t afford to fix this. It’s been one thing after another.” (This was before my epiphany that yes indeed, traveling in an RV IS one thing after the other. Deal with it.) I went on to list my litany of woes, some of which were actually legitimate.
“I can’t stop crying,” I told her.
“Maybe you need to cry some more,” she replied.
“I know it’s ridiculous to get this upset over a torn screen, but it’s just the last straw,” I said.
“We’ve all been there,” she assured me.
After turning down her kind invitation to join her and some of the other women for breakfast, I continued to cry. I should note here that it’s unusual for me to cry unassisted. I typically need to watch a movie in the tear-jerker genre to get me going. The best ever is “A Catered Affair” with Bette Davis. Had I not been in a movie theater (this was in the days before VCRs) and been obstructed by the armrests, I would have thrown myself prone across the seats and sobbed my heart out. Thank goodness for Bette Davis. That woman’s movies got me though more down times than I care to remember. Once when she was in the Bay Area and rumored to be staying at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, I sat at the bar for several evenings running in the hopes of seeing her to tell her how much her movies meant to me. (“Saved my life,” might be a bit dramatic, but not far off the mark.) I gave up after a while, in part because of the expense of the drinks at that swank place.
Back in Ajo, I was finally finished crying when the woman I had spoken with returned with several others in tow to examine the damaged screen. “Easy to fix,” they assured me, referring to the door, not my state of mind. As if by magic, a small roll of screen, scissors and a gasket roller appeared and my very own cheerleading squad helped me cut out the damaged section, affix the replacement, and hand me a series of threaded needles to sew the new section of screen in place.
Although the replacement looks homemade, which of course it is, and some might even go so far as to describe it as “tacky,” I plan to keep the makeshift, ragged “L” formed by the repair job. As far as I’m concerned, the “L” stands for “last,” as in that was the last time I left Missy uncrated. More importantly, the “L” stands for “love.” Every time I look at the repair job it reminds me of the supportive community that exists everywhere along the journey.