Dear RV Shrink:
My wife and I spent a wonderful few days in one of Arizona’s most beautiful “Sky Islands” high above Green Valley, Arizona. Being winter, we enjoyed sunny, warm days and cold nights in Madera Canyon’s Bog Springs National Forest Campground. We love these out-of-the-way, hard-to-reach NF campgrounds for the solitude they offer, the beautiful locations and the dark quiet nights.
The problem started when we left our mountain utopia and ventured into the valley below — the land of “Oscar the Grouch.” We decided to stop at the Green Valley, Ariz., Library Book Sale to find some reading material. It was early in the morning and we found a huge mall-type parking lot behind the library. The sign said it was the White Elephant Thrift Store, but other buildings looked like Sheriff, Road Commission, county-type stuff. We were the only vehicle in the lot.
I parked horizontally, taking up five spaces, way out at the edge of the lot in nobody’s way. It was an hour until the library would open so we ate breakfast. Over the next hour, every lot slot in the parking area filled. We were amazed. A line was forming at the White Elephant Thrift door. Soon the Golden Girls blocked me in from the front and Archie and Edith blocked me in from the back. When the hundreds of lot slots were filled, people started parking out on both sides of the street.
I thought I was just imagining the looks we were getting from people walking by. Could my five spaces be that important in a sea of overflowing vehicles that clearly had to flood the nearby roads whether I was squatting here or not? I went on a recon mission. I discovered they were all here for the White Elephant Thrift Store. It wasn’t a once-a-year sale — this thing goes on six days a week, 52 weeks a year. It is more popular than Walmart at Christmas. When I got back to the motorhome I discovered I had not been imagining the “LOOK.” The head of the Geritol Posse knocked at our door. At first I thought it was the Sheriff. Brown shirt with official arm patches, khaki pants, shiny gold badge and radio. My first clue she was White Elephant Security was the fact that she wasn’t packin’ any heat.
She said, “You have to move. You are taking up five spaces.” I could see the panic in my wife’s face. She thought I was going to go into my raving jailhouse lawyer mode. It was true that I was breaking no law. I had every right to be parked where I was. I could have given this female Broderick Crawford much grief, but I could also see the strain in her face. Coming out and telling me I must move was the last thing she wanted to be doing, but the Golden Girls and several other complainants forced her from her better judgement.
I could have unhooked, parked the car and motor home separately and vertically. That would have really blocked the lot. I know that would have sent her into a panic. So instead of being Mr. Hyde, I decided to be Dr. Jekyll. I told her I couldn’t squeeze out until she had one of her complainers move their vehicle. The word was out. I had been evicted. Cars were already vying for position to take my five spaces. When she got the car behind me moved, I still could not exit the parking lot until she made those crowding for the slots, like vultures on a fresh kill, move on past. They did not want to lose their positions.
Despite poor eyesight, I could tell many had taken their Vytorin in combination with their Viagra at breakfast and it had hardened their hearts. They wanted to string me up but couldn’t find a tall enough cactus. We finally eased on down the road and found a gas station that said we could drop the rig for a couple of hours. We went back to the library and later explored the White Elephant store. I saw my Rent-a-Cop friend and told her I had parked down in Nogales, Mexico, and wondered if that was far enough.
It still bothers me that I rolled over for this insinuated parking infraction. I feel I may have weakened RV Parking Rights when I cooperated and left my spaces. Should I have hunkered down, stood my ground and forced legal action for the benefit of all other RVers who might need several spaces to park in the future? Am I getting soft? Could I be losing my debating will? —Violated in Green Valley
There is no doubt that you had a rock-solid case for parking where you were. I find it very compassionate on your part to accept the inconvenience of moving to relieve the stress of the security guard who had the thankless job of asking you to move. For you to recognize her uncomfortable situation and defuse it is commendable.
I don’t think this indicates you are losing your edge. Instead you may be honing your relationship skills. If you never see that look of panic on your wife’s face again, that could signal a soft patch in your abilities to dole out attitude adjustments to those in need.
For any damage you might have inflicted on future RV Parking Rights, you more than made up for in goodwill with the Green Valley, White Elephant Law Enforcement Division of Arizona.—Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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