Tuesday, July 11, 2017

RV Road Rage

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I have an ongoing problem with road rage. He sits right next to me in the motorhome and swears a blue streak at the outside world as we drive down the road. If we are in rural areas he seems like a perfectly normal, compassionate human being. When we get into heavy traffic congestion, construction zones or have to turn around because of a missed turn, he goes nutso! I think he needs a course in anger management, but he tells me he is working on a home remedy to “just say no” to spells of frustration and the rage that follows. Can you help us? Is this a normal RV symptom? I see rigs much larger than our Class “C” with a “toad.” I can’t hear into the cockpit of those rigs. Maybe everyone is raging on down the road. Let me know what you think and what I should do to combat my husband’s road hostilities.
--Blue Streak in Biloxi

Dear B S:
I think this is more common than many people like to admit. You don’t hear this often in campground conversation, but you can bet it is more common than people let you believe. Many drivers are capable but not comfortable towing a large rig. I know a retired tour bus driver that spent his career driving 40 ft. Tour buses into New York City and Boston but couldn’t get used to pulling a 30 ft. Fifth wheel. I met another woman who couldn’t stand to listen to her husband swear and talk to other drivers that irritated him. She bought him a sound device that made various weapon sounds. He would use his machine gun or rocket launcher sounds to vent his frustrations. It is no different from trying to kick a smoking habit. You have to want to quit and work hard at keeping your wits about you. Another thought would be to have your husband pull off to the side of the road immediately and do some deep breathing, yoga relaxation poses and make various mediative sounds to connect his RV spirit to the primordial OM sounds resonating throughout the universe. Relaxing and building mental capacity for patience is the key. Rage can ruin a trip, cause unhealthy stress, become a safety issue and ruin a traveling relationship. You may want to do some of the driving when you see your husband going off the deep end. That will be his signal that he is going too far. It may help him put his actions into perspective and mellow him out a bit.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

RV site rights

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We love birding all over the country. The RV lifestyle has made it possible for our life list to grow substantially. We move into an area and we don't leave until we've found every species we came looking for. I'm not as obsessed as my husband. He doesn't know when to quit. Last week he was looking for an Elegant Trogan at Patagonia State Park in Arizona. He could hear it over in a secluded site at the end of a cul de sac. He went sneaking through the bushes and surprised a lady out sunning herself. She screamed and he bolted. I had to go over and try to explain what actually happened. She was not a happy camper. 
I don't think my husband understands yet that another camper's site should be respected. Don't you think paying for a camping site is similar to a short-term lease?
--Embarrassed in Arizona

Dear Embarrassed:
I am no lawyer, but personally I do agree that when I pay for a space it does come with some rights. Semi-privacy should be one. It doesn't always work out that way. Often you are encroached upon by music, lights, generators, partying, and even trespass. 
We should all think about how we would want to be treated and act accordingly. Many campgrounds are designed with sites that are sardined together so tight it is impossible to be a perfect neighbor. This is just part of the lifestyle and you have to roll with the punches. 
I do have to say, your story reminds me of a poem.
--Keep Smilin', Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

The Anatomy of a Birder
I heard it in the hedgerow, in the neighbor's yard;
A bird I'd never heard before, I listened very hard.
I crouched so low and crept so soft, I traumatized the cat;
He too, had heard this lovely bird, and knew where it was at.
I used the cat and all his skill to point me on my way;
Then with assumed seniority, convinced him not to stay.
Again, I moved toward the sound, whittling the gap;
Peering through the hedgerow, the sound my only map.
But then a silence filtered in, no longer any sound; 
A stillness overtook me, as I sat and glanced around.
Then movement through the tangled leaves, slight but just enough;
And eye contact in shocked surprise, with my neighbor in the buff.
I can't explain, the bird had flown, the cat only assisted;
And now I can't enjoy my birds, my neighbors think I'm twisted.
-Dick E. Bird

##RVT780

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

RV Lady in Waiting

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I was laid off from my auto parts manufacturing job a few years ago and decided to take an early retirement. My husband was still working but we figured we would both retire soon and try the RV lifestyle. He keeps dragging his feet. I should have gotten another job but the industry is still pretty slow. How do other people handle this situation? One retires and the other can't seem to make the move. We have already bought a fifth-wheel that we use on weekends and holidays. He loves it, but is so used to working it scares him to think of giving it up.
--Lady in waiting in Waterton

Dear Lady:
That is a dilemma. Instead of getting another job, you could get another husband. Just kidding. Most people have one foot out the door long before they can retire, while others find it very hard to pull the trigger. You didn't mention your ages. Maybe you are not close to the average retirement age and your husband is worried about your financial future. 

Some people do make the move prematurely, without enough planning, and regret it later. I think it is a very personal choice that each couple has to make between themselves. You should sit down and discuss your future and come to some understanding. Find out what it will take to motivate your husband to retire. If it looks like it might be a couple more years, you might then be able to be at ease with it, find another job, or at least be able to plan your course until he is ready. 
I feel for you in the job market. I grew up in Pontiac, Michigan and know a lot of people that lost good jobs during the Great Recession, and those jobs never came back. I wrote a song about it. I have linked it here.   UAW RAG
--Keep', Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink