I'm typing this outside my tent at Lions Campground in Red Deer. The symphony of traffic sounds from the highway across from my campsite is joined by the peaceful tweeting of birds the the not so peaceful yelling of my tent neighbours at their five screaming children. Oscar has learned a whole new vocabulary in our three days here from our neighbours, the other day he sweetly said "f**k off."
We tried to book another site but the long week-end is almost upon us and everything is completely booked up. I'm trying to make the best of our next five days here. There are showers. This is a luxury after the 8 previous days without running water. Laundry as well. So far both have cost us a small fortune in loonies.
This campground has a strange dynamic. In the middle there are the full service sites. I call it the "RV city." There are rows and rows of huge RVs lined up and plugged in. I rarely see anyone outside other than at the park. Once I saw bags of groceries on a picnic table outside one, but no sign of people. On the outskirts of these full service sites are what I like to call the "gyspsy towns." It's a treed area full of tarps and tents, traffic noise and screaming children. It looks like most people have set up here permanently, or at least until the park closes at the end of September.
I'm getting in the rhythm here. Twice a day the "dad" next-door comes home and honks his horn. This results in the children screaming. This results in the "mom" screaming at her children to stop screaming.
Every once and a while I venture out to RV city, to get to the showers, washrooms, the trail, or once to catch my dog. Of course, the time my dog escaped was the one time I actually saw someone in RV city.
"Is that your big dog?" the lady asked, "It scared me."
For heaven's sake, she's a small goofy golden retriever.
RV City folk are self-contained in their mammoth vehicles and don't need to venture out to shower, eat or play. They go from their RV to their truck and their truck to their RV. They are separate from us and each other. They have pasty white skin and their clothes are clean and pressed. Us gypsies try to conserve our loonies. We're a little more rugged looking. Our whites are more of an ivory. We spend our days outside. We pretend the thin fabric of our tent separates us, but the truth is we know all about each others business whether we want to or not. I know about our neighbours struggle to find work, and I'm sure they've heard our conversations about not getting a loan or being turned down for an apartment.
The park is the exception. Gypsy kids and city kids mingle, share, fight and explore together. They dig holes in the sand, play with sticks, climb and slide. They laugh together.
If only the world could be a park and we could all be children.