There’s a tab at the top of my browser that’s a shortcut for adding a new post on this here blog, and I’m happy to announce that this very post is the inaugural post for which I’ve used that shortcut. Here’s to many more clicks on the shortcut and in turn many more posts.
In the past year or so I’ve realized my intense love for all things “road”. I love road movies. Road books. Songs about the road. There was a “This American Life” episode that reaired a few weeks ago, #102–entitled “Roadtrip!” Ira Glass says at the beginning, after listing a slew of road movies and other road-related pieces of culture, “It is hard for an American to just hit the road without some expectations.” I’ve experienced this. I was even asked at one point in the trip, “What? Did you think it would be like a movie?” Still, I retain idyllic ideas about the road. It calls to me. It inspires me. It even softens me toward cars–because that’s how I picture myself traveling on the road. In a car. Even better, though, are road-related things that involve the most inspiring, the most exciting and perfect form of transportation I can think of–the RV.
The closest I’ve ever come to experiencing an RV was a rundown camper that was attached to the back of my grandfather’s truck when I was a child. I heard stories about my parents taking it camping when my oldest brother was a newborn. By the time I was born, though, everyone had stopped using the old camper. The family had graduated to something much less exciting and mobile–a tent. In our town there was a RV dealership that intrigued me and mocked me each time we passed it in the minivan to and from a trip to the grocery store or dance class or most frequently, the dump. I remember the feeling of complete awe when I realized what those two letters stood for–Recreational Vehicle. Wow. A vehicle whose sole purpose is recreation. On camping trips I’d stare longingly at the RVs. I’d watch them pull up to the station where they unloaded their sewage. Even that seemed romantic.
My favorite part about stranger’s RVs, though, was when they had maps decorating the side. These maps were the coolest idea in the history of everything because the owners of the RV could attach little magnets in the shape of US states to mark where they’d traveled. Specifically, where they’d traveled in their RV. It was like the maps inside of tourist destinations that visitors put colorful thumbtacks in to signify wherever they came from. Oh, the status of being the visitor to put a thumbtack on some far-off locale–Nepal, Portugal, Madagascar. What are Nepalese/Portuguese/Madagascarean tourists doing at this ice cream stand on Route 28 in Hyannis, Massachusetts?
I digress. Point is, I badly want to travel around in a “dusty old RV.” I want to “ride shotgun from town to town.” I want a man as my RV companion who hasn’t shaved in days and is starting to smell. But it won’t matter because we’ve still got half a tank of gas, a bag of chips in between our seats, and we’re singing along with the radio and “staking a claim on the world we found.” Basically I want something exactly like this Shooter Jennings song, aptly entitled “4th of July”–