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
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