ONCE UPON A TIME IN A VERY SMALL SPACE

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People love to travel. They go on road trips. Many of them get into a plane and fly away. Others load  suitcases into their cars and get on the open road to explore this great country of ours. And some of them, apparently, get what are called RVs. Recreational vehicles allow people to take their “home” with them on vacation. They have a bedroom or two, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a TV that they tow around with them.

This is fun to these people, who seem to really enjoy being crammed into these RVs. They like the idea of “glamping,” I think it is called: camping, but you don’t have to sleep on the ground, the outhouse concept has been dealt with, and if it rains, you have an actual roof over your head.

We visited the Airstream factory. Airstream makes the famous tin capsules that we have seen tooling down the highways of America for generations. They are charming. So charming that when we looked at the models in the showroom, I casually commented that I thought going in a trip in one might be “fun.”

MY HUSBAND: *eyes rolling*: What exactly do you think would be so fun?

ME: What do you mean? This one is so cute and cozy. Only $30,000 for the base model.

HIM: Notice the bed that is crammed in there in the back?

ME: Yes, so?

HIM: Where would YOU sleep? *gesturing along the width of the bed, which is indeed the size of a small cot*

ME: Oh, right. Well, we would have to go up a size to the next model, I guess.

HIM: And have you thought about where we would have to stop each night?

ME: Right. In one of those places with all the other trailers.

HIM: And what would we do? *pauses for effect* We would have to socialize with all of the inhabitants of those other RVs, who would be sitting in their camp chairs, drinking beers and cooking hamburgers on their portable grills. They would ask things like “Where you hail from, buddy?” and “What brought you out here on the road?”

ME: I would stay inside the trailer. Reading.

HIM: And you would not want to go hiking? Or biking? *gesturing at the bike rack* Because I think hiking and biking are about the only options for campers. Or maybe fishing. Are you suddenly fond of fishing?

ME: We could stay in the trailer and watch TV. Or play games.

HIM: Right. Like we play games. And do you see the size of that TV? Notice that it is similar to the screen of your iPad? And that it’s mounted on the wall above the bed? The single, ram-your-arms-against-the-wall bed that is back here in the aft of the capsule? *once again gestures toward the slimline cot*

ME: Why do we see so many of these things on the road, then, if they are so uncomfortable?

HIM: Because the people taking them on vacation love to hike, bike and fish. And they are not afraid of getting the Zika virus in Minnesota. They are people who wear cargo pants. They know how to read maps. They like camp fires. They don’t mind humidity. They call stuff like backpacks, insect spray, rain ponchos, and water bottles “gear.”

ME: Oh, my God. This is what they do? These people take these RVs out and all they do is be outside all the time? They don’t go to restaurants and the outlet malls? They just drive around looking at nature?

HIM: *nodding*

ME: Forget this. $30,000 to be miserable? Have these people never been to Paris or even Cincinnati? They go on vacations with no Starbucks or symphony tickets? Hasn’t anybody told them about Airbnb?

HIM: *pulling me out of the base model by the arm* Quiet–you are causing a ruckus. That guy in the Crocodile Dundee hat just gave you a dirty look. And here comes the sales rep!

We hustled out of there and into our car, where I used four Kleenexes to mop my brow.

HIM: Yep. $30,000 will buy a lot of pedicures.

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