Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Maybe you can help solve this constant problem my wife and I have every time we park our rig. It’s a little embarrassing but I know many other people suffer from the same situation. We both drive our motorhome, we both take turns dumping the septic, we both know how to troubleshoot all the appliances. We are a great team. The problem is, she thinks she’s an expert at backing up and parking the rig. She is always telling others that I’m terrible at it. The fact is, I just give better signals than she does. I can get behind the motorhome and maneuver her right into the tightest spots with good hand signals. When I’m driving, I can’t even see her in the mirrors. She is usually in a blind spot behind the rig, flapping her hands and her gums. While she’s back there dancing around I can’t see or hear her. We have discussed this problem a million times, but I still can’t get it though to her where to stand and what signals I need. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
--Brake Dancing in Denver
This is a huge problem. I hear this constantly. If you look around the campground as people arrive you will see this scenario played out time and again. Couples seem to get frustrated with each other when trying to work together to park, especially in tight spaces. I suggest patience. Armed with that I suggest a couple props. The first is very important--an oven mitt. Yes, you heard me right. This is most important. If the person behind the rig giving parking signals wears an oven mitt there are certain signals that will not be able to be seen no matter how frustrated that person becomes. This can go a long way toward keeping the peace until the rig finally gets parked. Another piece of equipment that comes in handy is a cheap pair of walkie talkie’s. You can often find them at second hand stores for a few bucks. Another problem I see, in a majority of parking conflict cases, is over politeness. Not between the couple but with blocking traffic. Don’t worry about blocking the road or holding up another camper. We are all in the same boat (land yacht). They don’t mind waiting for you to take your time and get parked properly. Just don’t let them help you. Remember, they don’t have anything invested. Your spouse is going to make sure you don’t impale your rig on some hidden branch, but a bystander may not be as concerned. The next time you park the rig make a conscious effort to hold your tongue. Remember, it’s in a slippery spot. Make a pact, no fighting over parking. Watch others and see just how silly it is, then put yourself in that picture. Your New Year’s Resolution should be, “I’ll watch your back-up, you watch mine.”
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink