Last week, we got locked out. Neither of us had grabbed the door key when we parked the RV to register at the Oasis RV Resort in Las Vegas. We realized this after we registered, when we were back at the RV and looking at each other as if to say, I definitely didn’t remember to take the key, but I’m really hoping you did because otherwise we’re screwed. We were, in fact, screwed, and we couldn’t blame each other. Also: We’re newlyweds. Also, also: We’re big fans of declaring most unfortunate situations ‘adventures.’ True to form, my Love Interest (now that we’re married, I figure I should tell you his name; it’s Dana) declared, without a hint of sarcasm, “Well, this is exciting!” I was a little slower to agree. I could feel my face pulling in the direction it pulls when I’m about to feel my feelings out loud without a filter. The space between my eyebrows does something funny. I know this because Dana frequently presses his thumb against that space and massages my skin in gentle circles in an effort to rub out the stress he sees forming there. This time, though, he didn’t press his thumb to my head; he was too busy scheming a creative solution to our problem.
The story gets interesting here, because our usual fix—to shimmy open one of our unlocked windows from the outside—was stymied by my hatch-battening vigilance. In other words, I’d locked nearly every window of the motorhome when we last broke camp, save for the two tiny windows over the dining table. Tiny, like, my head wouldn’t fit through them.
The front desk was no help. Not their fault, but you know, liability and all that. They wouldn’t even loan us a ladder. Or a long-handled broom. Blerg.
Dana spotted a truck (and ladder) belonging to a local motorhome-detailing company. We asked the fellow if he’d loan us the ladder for a short while—we were honeymooners, locked out, how could he not pity us—and he agreed to bring it over after he finished washing the Airstream he’d just begun sudsing and scrubbing. Ever the epitome of child-like innovation and curiosity, Dana swiped a pin from the twelfth hole of a small golf course as we walked back to the RV. We could wait for the ladder or we could get creative. The pin propped against the side of the RV, I climbed onto Dana’s shoulders as if about to engage in the oft-celebrated ‘chicken fight,’ only there was no pool, no bikini, and I wasn’t yet all the way into the safe zone of having fun despite—no, because of—our misfortune. (This would’ve been akin to one of those times when someone jokes about something on the heels of the incident itself, and no one laughs nor cracks a smile; rhetorically, she offers, “Too soon?”)
One of the two tiny windows over the dining table happens to be directly in line with the door to the motorhome. Sheer serendipity. On Dana’s shoulders with the heavy, wobbly golf pin in my clutches (imagine handling a long, thin tree branch with very minimal leverage while perched on your spouse’s shoulders) and my arms extended all the way into the RV (remember, windows too small for my head to fit through), I tried desperately to connect the end of the plastic pole with the little red switch that kept us from getting inside our home. I’d connect the two and then try with all my strength to raise the pin so that its far end would lift the red switch in one swift motion. Have you ever poured all of your effort into something that you know, as you’re doing it, is absolutely futile? I retracted the pin and turned it around without blinding Dana or scratching the RV, and tried flag-end first. Even worse. Out the pin came, once again; I spun it around and took another stab, literally, at the red switch.
I wanted to cry. Unlocking the door was soclose to being within my reach, but it eluded me all the same. In an effort to stabilize my arms and gain leverage to counter the wobbliness of the pin, I’d leaned much too hard against the window sill and had begun to lose feeling in my arms and hands. I had to stop. I needed a break. I whimpered as Dana lowered me to the ground.
At that very moment, the fellow from the motorhome-detailing company came across the golf course carrying his ladder. Two of his cohorts pulled up in a pickup truck with an additional ladder in the back. “He told us,” they said. “We thought we’d beat him here with our ladder.”
Dana unfolded and climbed the first guy's ladder, lifted the pin and extended both arms through the tiny window, fiddling somewhat invisibly for a minute or two. A moment later, he asked me to try the door, so I circled the RV and pulled on the handle. The door sprang open, like always.
When all was said and done and we’d thanked the three fellows with three cans (yes, cans) of Pinot Grigio and we’d gotten one of them to take our picture before we returned the pin to the golf course and we’d laughed and kissed each other and laughed some more, we looked to Dana’s phone to examine the picture proof with proud, googly eyes.
In addition to the triumphant shot of the two of us with the flag-topped pin, there was a pair of pictures (1, 2) that Dana had taken, delighting as he does, while I was on his shoulders, struggling through our adventure. Now, let me be clear: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the feels, with recognizing that a situation is difficult and irritating and solidly unlucky. That was my head space, and it’s a valid head space. However, I tell you all of this because it’s important to note that Dana and I experienced the exact same scenario, only he chose to fully embrace a spirit of adventure and curiosity from the get-go. As you can see from the pictures he took, he was fully committed to a perspective of fun. I got there eventually (once I stopped silently berating him for not bringing his keys…and myself for not thinking to bring my own set), but what a great perspective to inhabit—why not claim it even earlier?
What I learned about curiosity in the last week: All you need is one tiny (unlocked) window. And an outlook that combines some ratio of enthusiasm and play. For lubrication, naturally. Curiosity—and fun—can slide right through.
P.S. Not sure how to get from straight-up frustrated to Dana-levels of excitement? Start by asking yourself these questions: What about my situation changes if I decide to approach it as a fun and exciting challenge? What if I absolutely had to make this fun? What if my very life depended on enjoying the bejeezus out of trouble-shooting this? Email me for more help; I love hearing from you.
Notes from the week of March 27
CAMPED AT RAILSIDE RV RANCH, OASIS RV RESORT, & STOCKTON DELTA KOA
MEALS EATEN, DRINKS DRUNK
+ vegetarian eggs Benedict
+ toasted pine nut couscous topped with avocado, with a side of rainbow chard sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes
READ & NODDED MY HEAD
+ “Remember that friend from college that would be like, “Yeah, sure, I'll go downtown and wait with you while you deal with your parking ticket," and then you had a really good time standing in line, and afterwards you got sangria at that Spanish place you always wanted to try? That's chard: a chill ingredient that's up for pretty much whatever"
LOCAL COLOR EXPERIENCED
+ the Grand Canyon!
+ the remnants of the Super Bloom in the Mojave
+ dry skin & oddly straight & staticky hair in the Mojave
+ alfalfa fields in Hinkley, CA (remember Erin Brockovich?)
+ ice cream cones along the docks in Terminous, CA
+ brunch with my brother and sister-in-law at Doyle Street Cafe in Emeryville, CA
+ after all the families left the KOA on Sunday, we had the giant jumping pillow to ourselves; my Love Interest & I captured some wonderfully fun moments (see pictures above)
+ a gorgeous glass milk bottle that held the trendy green juice we purchased in a casino (which made the $12 price tag seem marginally better; souvenir, right?)
EXPENSIVE CRISIS AVERTED
+ having to call a locksmith
+ Adam, who loaned us a ladder at Oasis RV Park
+ Joe, Tina, Bev, & Jim, from outside Lodi, CA, who were parked in the two spots next to us (rather snugly) at the Stockton Delta KOA
+ Dave & Sarah Jo