Daisy pulled into the park, easing under a towering rainbow-colored arch wrapped in Christmas lights, just as rain subsided. The gray everywhere was turning black. She saw a blinking red OPEN sign in a window of what appeared to be an office. The office window was framed by candle lights with flickering orange flames. The building housing the office was covered in white lights twinkling with machine gun speed.
How did one check into an RV park? Particularly one decorated for Christmas. Well, you just walk right up!
As Daisy inched the Volvo to the office, she noticed a row of RVs lined up on either side of the gravel driveway. They were older models, decades older, a bit weary-looking. She read their odd names. She’d never read RV names before. Who does? (Perhaps we should. There might be something in their oddity that explains the current malaise gripping much of our nation.)
Spirit of America
What were these names trying to suggest? Inspire? Aspirations? Lies? Blatant contradictions in contemporary American life? Isn’t every American a walking, sleep-walking contradiction between the ideals of America’s foundation and the reality of American reality?
Daisy noticed a few of the rigs sported holiday lighting. There was even one gigantic display that featured a classic life-size plastic Santa in sleigh pulled by four life-size plastic reindeer, Daisy smiled when she saw it. How refreshing to see something old school and not those cheap inflatable monstrosities that invariably deflate, and deflate as well the Christmas spirit of everyone who saw them dead yet writhing on the lawn.
Never, ever, underestimate the saving power of an outdoor holiday lighting display on a beleaguered, suffering soul. One glowing angel in an upstairs window might prevent a hanging in the basement or taking a dump under the Christmas tree.
She parked the Volvo near a small cinderblock building with a sign that read Laundry Room and Lending Library. At least 50 crab floats hung from its facade and front gutter. Each float was wrapped in blue and red lights. Two demonic elves twisted themselves around the downspout.
Daisy got out of the car and walked to the office door. She knocked in the center of a lacquered pine cone and sea shell wreath and went inside.
An elderly bespectacled man stood behind the counter. Overhead, a black and white version of A Christmas Carol played silently on television. The man introduced himself as Bruce and asked how he could help. In due course, Daisy plucked down $20 for one night, got the lowdown on park facilities, a candy cane, the Wi-fi password, and where to drive to the tent camping area. Bruce told her the store closed in 20 minutes if she needed anything. Daisy thanked him, used the restroom, and then got in the Volvo. She sat there for a moment to collect her thoughts. She checked her phone but there was zero reception. She put in the password to connect to the larger world. She connected and scanned various communication channels and absolutely none of it mattered.
The tent camping area was in a separate, wooded part of the park. Surrounding it were about a dozen or so RVs slightly more disheveled than the ones Daisy seen upon her arrival. Daisy parked in the grass, exited the car, and hustled to the store. There, she bought a bottle of Chianti and a can of spaghetti and meatballs, As she was leaving the store, she saw a flier advertising a locally-produced podcast called Secret Coast Radio. She made note of it.
Ten minutes later, Daisy had rigged up the Volvo as a crash pad, snuggled herself inside the sleeping bag, cracked open the spaghetti, guzzled wine from the bottle, lit a cigarette, and tuned into the latest episode of the podcast. It was a special holiday show. She heard a story set to freaky instrumental music about a Scrooge chipmunk eating magic mushrooms and changing his miserly ways, She heard poems about the homeless, beavers and whales. She heard another tale about a kid who stole a dog chained to a pole on Christmas Eve. She listened to an instructional on how to build a driftwood fort Christmas tree.
What is this place? thought Daisy. What am I doing here? What am I going to do tomorrow?
She fell asleep around midnight and dreamed of the snowy egret flying above a river.