While sitting at the picnic table, enjoying the cool breeze and the cloudy weather, I started watching the older couple in the space next to mine. They weren't old, just older. I stared shamelessly through my sunglasses and out from under the brim of my hat.
They were scared.
I noticed them first because of how they were dressed. They left for a walk not long after we arrived. He was wearing slacks and a three-button, short sleeve knit shirt. For camping. Slacks! Trousers! Dress pants. She was similarly and constrictively clothed.
When they returned from their walk, I studied their RV. It was a small motorhome, pulled directly into the space - not backed in. This meant the door and the un-deployed awning all faced away from their campsite. Away from the picnic table and fire ring. Away from the path down to the creek. That's nothing too unusual. I can't back a vehicle very well either. But...
When the got to their door, the man pulled out a jangly key ring and unlocked the door. They went inside and shut both doors behind them. Nothing stirred, not even a mouse, for a long while.
When they finally did open the door and came out, both were carrying covered dishes. Supper had been cooked inside. On a stove. In an oven. Not outside on an open flame or even a gas grill. That's not a big deal, I understand that's one reason people buy RVs - fire cooking isn't for everyone. But...
The man held the door for his wife. She stepped out and walked around to the other side of the RV to get to the picnic table. He tarried a second or two longer. He took out the jangly keyring and locked the door.
They never cautioned a glance in my direction, that I know of. My nosiness was not returned or possibly not even noticed. They walked with their heads down, eyes low. I considered going over and speaking to them. Perhaps it would ease their mind, knowing that the scruffy tent dwellers next door were generally law-abiding and good natured. But...
The can of chili I had opened for supper (Frito Pie!) spewed all over the front of my shirt. My legs and feet were speckled with mud from a short walk down what is usually a dry stream bed. My eyes were bloodshot and watery from wearing my contacts too long. My hair was shooting out from under my hat in every conceivable direction. I decided I wouldn't do much to quiesce their fears at that point. Immediately after supper they entombed themselves again. I didn't see them the rest of the evening.
The next morning I walked past their campsite. There was no sign of human habitation. I guess maybe they deeply subscribe to the "leave only footprints" admonition. The RV was there, but nothing else. No hiking stick, no bag of charcoal, no firewood, no lawn chairs, no hat, not even a string of lights or a dog leash. No dog, either. Nothing.
I kept watching. It was surely as much fun as daytime TV. About 10:00 a.m. the door opened and they emerged with cereal bowls in hand. They scurried over to the picnic table, having first locked their door. They ate in what I suppose was silence, staring at the table, barely noticing their surroundings. A short while later I sat watching as they unplugged the motorhome and drove skittishly away.
I sighed, and got up off of my lounge chair. I grabbed a coke out of the cooler and made sure the kids weren't around. Then I poured the leftover bacon grease on the fire and watched it leap and sputter. Fear is sad. Play with fire instead.
Katie and Monique enjoy (?) some ice cream on the way home.