TUCSON UPDATE: We’ve moved sites several times, but we’ve finally settled in at our permanent parking spot on Doggie Promenade
It’s not really called doggie promenade, we actually live on the corner of “one” and “entrance”—the very first site in the park. We’re kind of like the welcome committee, which is also like being the village doormat.
THE CONS: Our new site is across the street from the dumpster and the punch code accessible “butterfly garden.” We are also across from the motorized entrance gate, which sounds like a freight elevator being lowered into a vat of packing peanuts. Everyone entering or exiting the park has to pass through these gates. The butterfly garden is also a popular place to walk pets, so the majority of the K-9 community passes by our porch on a daily basis. What I'm saying is, it’s an aurally rich location.
At 5:30 am, our neighbor starts up the diesel engine parked less than 3 feet from our pillows. Where could he be going? I do not ask, because 5:30 am is too early for talking.
By 5:45 AM, doggie promenade is bumping. The butterfly garden key code has 5 digits, but only one piercing tone. Odin isn’t a barker, however the commotion will prompt him to place a paw, rather seriously, upon the bed as if to say, “the time has come, my humans, wake thee up.”
The park is a very social place, and people love to stop and chat when they pass (and someone is always passing!). The most common questions are about Paul’s job (work being such an anomaly here). Is Paul working? When is he working next? How long are Paul’s shifts? Where will he take his next placement? Etc. Other than that, people mostly want to know about Odin.
Odin is especially anxious to wake up because he MUST get outside and hold court on Doggie Promenade. There are poodles and grey hounds, labs and bichons. Odin loves greeting all his friends as they pass, but he is especially fond of two Pomeranian/Chihuahua mixes, Anna and Elsa (yes, like in Frozen, the grandkids named the dogs, and they’re exactly as adorable as they sound). As is tradition in most North American neighborhoods, we can name most every dog in the park but have yet to learn the names of any of the respective humans.
People certainly know Odin before they know us, but as the rare 30 year olds among the 55+, it’s very difficult to sink anonymously into the crowd. The center stage real-estate doesn’t help either. People notice when the truck is gone, when the dog’s left out, when I’m cooking something that smells good, and when it seems like the food might be burning. Our friends—(the ones who treat us like normal humans and not some rare, taut-skinned birds, or missionaries on a strange cross-generational service project, or foolish youths—although that we may be) suggest that we ask to move sites. BUT there are some things that we like about this location.
THE PROS: When you’ve moved yourself thousands of miles across the country, it’s nice to have people stopping by to say hi! I love that friends drop in to invite us hiking on Friday, and out for Indian food, or to attend an annual“skirt day” (folks here mostly wear quick dry athletic apparel and would never believe that I worked an office job and wore dresses on the reg). I used to love when my co-workers popped in to my office just to chat, and now the front porch has become the best place to gather community intel.
We also get to see lots of low speed road rage at the entrance gate. There are posted rules about which vehicle should yield and which should go first. Those who do not abide the stop signs or the driving order etiquette should expect a torrent of insults and possibly some fist shaking. We get a front row seat and a good laugh every time a driver decides that the rules do not apply to them, and thus get berated or blocked in.
Paul and I recently visited the Titan Missile site. Paul loves all that science, tech, engineer type stuff, but I find it hard to connect with machinery. Three level shock isolation? Snooze. I am more interested in the people aspect of things, so I was delighted to hear of “peace by deterrence,” our Cold War military strategy.
What a fantastic show of rhetorical acrobatics! “We come in peace, but we’re just going to put this rocket that can destroy 900 square miles in less than 30 minutes right here, so good luck with your space missions and stuff, k byeee!” I do not mean to suggest that I have any better ideas for a political crisis that I did not personally experience, only that we Americans are impressive and imaginative wordsmiths.
In that spirit, Paul, Odin, and I are practicing “discretion by deterrence.” While everyone may see our comings and goings, we too are keen observers. We will say nothing about your dog’s depravity, your close call with the entrance gate, that cardboard box you threw out. You and I both know, it should have been recycled.
BONUS TREAT: Our busy location also comes with a patio and a corner. Patio sites have cement picnic tables and tiny brick walls—a feature that usually comes with an up charge, but the fee has been waved for this spot. We also have one of the few sites that looks out on something other than another trailer. Really, we’re just happy they’re letting us, foolish youths that we are, stay here.