Who Is This Rig?

I picked up my rig, temporarily christened “The Beast” on Monday, April 12th. It is much bigger in real life than it appeared in its photographs. Maybe I’ve shrunk since first contemplating becoming a nomad. Its stature intimidated me. But reality isn’t a good choice for an adversary. It has everything that I wanted and I need to befriend it.

A good friend of mine said, “The Beast? How about a softer name like Bobby the Beast? Or how about just ‘Bobby’?” When people hearing of my journey asked if I planned to give it a name, I stated that I was considering not naming it. I’d refer to it as “the rig.” Everyone names their rigs. I want to be unlike everyone else. But “Bobby” is growing on me. The “Beast” is an unfriendly moniker. Bobby is friendly. I’m contemplating finding a door mat with “Bobby” inscribed on it. I envision “Bobby” being tattooed on the inside of a lover’s arm. It could either be a badge of honor or a mistake that can never be completely erased. Mistake or not, my rig and I are riding off into this next chapter together. 

I initially thought of Bobby as a guy but we may get along better if he morphs into “Bobbie,” Bobby’s female counterpart.

On Monday I was given a walk-through introduction to Bobby by a young man who spoke at the speed of light. His speech was interspersed with “as I said” numerous times as if to make an impression on me to remember his words. As a cautionary move to prevent my failure to remember the lessons he was teaching, I made a video of our 45 minutes together with my Iphone. Three days later, when attempting to retrieve it, I learned that that the video had disappeared from my phone. I surmise that it drifted into a video atom smasher. I’m beyond the point of being effectively taught in a warehouse classroom setting anyway. 

I experimented with putting my kayak paddles atop Bobby’s slide out feature, only to get them stuck when I was retracting it back in. I managed to get the paddles unstuck with no permanent damage to the paddles or the slide out. Bobby intimidated me all over again when I became aware that I could feed it kayak paddles, he would eat them whole, spit them back out, and not lose a beat. 

Today I filled my water tank. The water leaked out from the bottom edges of Bobby. He wet his pants. I called my vendor and prepared to drive 25 miles to the shop so the leak could be located and fixed. About a half mile away from home, I heard a nasty loud noise made by some unidentified part dragging against the asphalt. I pulled over on a side road, looked beneath Bobby’s belly, and noticed that the stabilizing “foot” that is one of Bobby’s amenities had spontaneously deployed. Bobby dragged his foot so badly that it wouldn’t retract and he had to be towed in for repair to northern Mississippi. He’ll get a diaper for his leak after which the motorhome podiatry department will fix the dropped foot.

I’m feeling better because I took the time to write today. It gave my tired mind a chance to think on paper. Otherwise, I’d be stewing in my own anxiety about me, the Beast, Bobby, and Bobbie.

Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

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