The owner of that Astro approached me yesterday afternoon, two full pails of water on his shoulders. His first words weren’t hello, they were, “do you know how to find water here? It’s right across the road in that stream.” He was so proud of himself. That stream, I thought… you mean Lone Pine Creek? The water coming off the highest peak in the continental USA? OK. So he continued to tell me he’s owned 7 VW vans but none like mine and now he feels like he’s won the lottery, he has AT and 15″ wheels. “You still only have 14 inch wheels?” (Yeah but I have a 14 gallon water tank.) He then started to brag about his cellular data plan, and so I asked his name. “Home Free, that’s my real name.”
“Home Free, nice to meet you, now I’d like for you to go.”
Stunned, indignant, he rattled off that he loves me and I *seem* to get it because I’m living in my van, but maybe I don’t get it and he hopes I get it like him some day. I repeated “goodbye,” and waved him off, telling him I did not invite him to my space to talk at me and tell me how to live.
Thing is, camping out in public land isn’t always hunky dory. There are all sorts of lost souls out here. Home Free was assuming and insulting, and I issued my right to ask him to go away. But then I worried a little bit about his hurt feelings and retaliation. Is he the kind of guy that people just don’t get and then he shoots up a shopping mall? Ultimately, whatever, my point is be judicious out there but don’t be afraid to stick up for your (mental) space.
I worked as a bedside RN helping people with surprise mental health co-morbidities (and a one year night shift stint at Hooper Detox in PDX – full on nuts) so I feel like while I get it and feel for these people, I am not obligated to sort them out any longer.
Just me. (and Chief Pete)