Monday, June 19, 2006

Living in a Faux Reality TV Show aka Everybody Loves a Road Trip

We all live in a big white RV, a big white RV, a big white RV. We all live in a big white RV, a big white RV...out in the big wide world.

If you were ever thinking it made sense for a bunch of adults and kids to live in an RV...let me tell you: there are drugs that can help you. Really.

Although---Honest Pete---it's not that bad.

You can get food, and the bathroom is always there and clean, no more searching for some scummy food mart potty or a rest area or (in times of extreme desperation) a semi-private roadside tree. You can even nap without being in some neck-twisting position with your jaw all slack and drool oozing down your chin. The table area is nice for coloring and doing puzzles.

But let me tell you, the time table is a max of three days. Even if you are all Very Nice People and Really Really Like Each Other.

Past that and it is some Fox Knockoff of MTV Reality TV series about when "people stop being nice and start getting real."

As it happens, Day One was a challenge right off the bat when we blew a tire and found the spare was for a Chevrolet pickup not a Ford (which we have). Three hot, sweaty, RV-rocking, children whining roadside hours later, the tow truck tire shop guy managed to switch the tires and rims and we were off. But it made a long day unbearably long.

Day Two the kids' DVD player failed. And that's when things got ugly. Grandpa was boggled why this was such a Disaster and Catastrophe. Back in his day, he reminded us, people had to sleep in tents made of canvas and find their own food and cook it over a camp fire and entertain themselves with their imaginations.

When we all finished shuddering, we asked him to turn on the A/C because it was hot. And I rededicated myself to trying to diagnose and repair the problem with the DVD player.

Day Three it occured to me that Grandpa might have a point and I searched my "sleep deprived due to constantly waking kids and ooh that air mattress sucks to sleep on and if my head whacks the cabinet one more time I'm going to be brain damaged" brain for ways to entertain my kids without modern conveniences.

Here are my attempted solutions...all of which earned me the everlasting scorn of my children:

1. Coloring

"But Moooooooommmmm the RV keeps bopping up and down and my picture is ruuuuuuiinnnnnneddddddd."

On to 2. "I spy with my little eye."

"This game stinks. I can't see anything. We're moving too fast."

How about 3. Story Circle

"...and then they all got into an RV and the monsters came and killed them bloody dead with their bodies all torn up," said replete with those "ooohhh scary" campfire eyes.

They can't read so the license plate game is out.

I don't want to teach them Punch Buggy.

So 4. The Cloud Game

This worked fine for a bit, looking to see shapes in the clouds.

But then the whining resumed and I started thinking I wish I had a canvas tent. I could put it to some good use. There was no number 5.

The baby never did join in on any of it and so the entire five minutes we tried the low tech entertainment solution she squirmed and screamed and fought her car seat buckles like someone had stuffed them with broken glass and she was being tortured.

Which, when I thought about it and how I felt, might not be too far from the truth.

I concluded the drug use of the 60s was completely understandable if all those kids and teens were dragged around the country on Road Trips without modern conveniences.

These things were invented for good cause and my Priority #1 was Fix that DVD player, followed closely by Priority #2 which was "find some drugs that make the kids sleep."

I'm glad we had an oven and microwave at our fingertips, and the air mattress was better on the carpeted cabin floor than outdoors in some nature scene with sticks and insects and (read my previous post) flora. I was able to extend my necessary for life conditioned and filtered air on my trip. You can't beat that.

Still, really. Cap the time. And use all those modern day newfangled conveniences like DVD players.

Tomorrow...the trip drives my older daughter crazy and she begins speaking in haiku, with an accent of whine.

By Julie Pippert
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© 2006. All images and text exclusive property of Julie Pippert. Not to be used or reproduced.


Veronica Mitchell said...

You make me recall all our family vacations together - in one of those big canvas tents. I'm not sure how my parents managed it.

Siuan said...

I used to think this would be a dream vacation for me but now you have me rethinking.

lemony said...

"There was no number 5" is pretty much the story of my life, except we're usually capped out by number 4. That extra kid, you know.