Sunday, January 8, 2017

Giving advice to an imploding new vandweller.

I parked in my usual spot. I watched the sun change positions in the sky. I was occupied with my minor daily activities. Perfectly at peace; side doors open wide.

A white camper van pulled up behind me, and the driver got out. He left his door open and his engine running, in spite of a twenty foot stretch of empty spots beside me. He approached me quickly and tried to feign being calm. His anxiety was almost an entity. Nervous energy followed him like a cloud.

I knew what he wanted, but I allowed him to ask: "Where do people park on the island?" Obviously, he meant for sleeping at night.

I gathered from the details that he was able to divulge that he'd recently dredged up his life. He broke up a relationship and quit a job, and thought that living in a van would bring peace. Holy smokes. He'd been at it for a week at that point, and I wondered if he'd slept at all.

I shared some advice about parking, and tried to reassure him that he was in good company on the island. Everything would be completely okay. I smiled and spoke to him calmly. It takes time to adjust, I explained. I said he'd feel more comfortable if he got some cheap curtains for privacy. I outlined what I'd do in his case.

He was acting like a cornered animal. I tried to help him too much. I offered to show him a good parking area that would work, but he quickly declined because he "had GPS." So I gave a description of the spot and wished him luck. I offered him my phone number, in case he had more questions, or just wanted to talk to somebody here. All of these gestures only made him more nervous. I'm almost certain that he thought I was nuts.

I was amused by the encounter. I took a deep breath when he left. So much worry and fear! He was out of his element and alone. I could completely relate to his situation, but I'd forgotten that exact feeling until then. I attempted to will positive vibes in his direction. Then I returned to my business of not much.

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