I had some things happen last week that made me look at my life with a different perspective. How would a “princess” perceive my life if she were to be suddenly thrust into it?
Merely the idea makes me laugh hysterically. Even on the scale of travel trailers, ours is a long ways from comfortable, convenient, or spacious. We lack a lot.
I can’t imagine an adult of even the smallest stature being comfortable on those bunks. They are dreadful, useless, and vast space hogs.
The dinette is less comfortable than sitting around a portable table on a five gallon bucket. The refrigerator can’t hold a gallon of anything. Everything you retrieve from it will leave you feeling like you are standing on your head. Cleaning it requires sitting on the floor for the project.
We battle the growth of some obscure plant-like stuff on the skin of the trailer too. It’s either green or black, and requires vigorous scrubbing to remove it when it appears. I’m afraid that not removing it will damage the surface quickly.
Dirt. It’s everywhere, including our floor. It’s impossible to keep out and I do not want to devote myself to being Ms. Neurotic Housekeeper in an attempt to have a gritless floor. The dogs carry it in, we carry it in…and then periodically, we scoop it up and carry it out. Along with amazing quantities of dog hair. That too…is everywhere.
It’s like camping…every day. I even cook outside 90% of the time. It’s easier and roomier. Cooler too, as I don’t heat up the house to get the job done. It’s also cheaper–I can use a white gas stove outside, and that costs us less $ per meal than using propane. $30 worth of propane will last us less than a month. $10 worth of white gas will last us more than 2 months.
But…princesses don’t want food seasoned with the occasional bug or live oak leaf. (I’ve actually fished them out of our cooked soups/stews/beans on occasion, completely ignorant as to how long said leaf was stewed.) They may find the idea that I chopped those vegetables for dinner while being bitten by Mississippi’s piranha gnats rather disgusting too. Since I typically will opt to wash dishes outside…that too would come under fire.
There is no privacy either. No space to put fancy dresses or vast wardrobes. Even figuring out where to store extra shoes is a problem. GM & I are in the process of elimination with clothing. I can’t figure out where to put it, so that means we have entirely too much. We don’t wear it because we can’t even FIND it. We need to reduce the quantity, and we’ve been giving stuff away as fast as we can.
Imagine a princess…being faced with space to store her duffel bag and one extra pair of shoes. Being shown her bunk…the top one since Sissy sleeps on the bottom one. The princess’ duffel bag and shoes would have to be crammed in beside Sissy, who drops an amazing amount of dirt, dander, and hair daily…adding dust to the equation.
We don’t do TV either. Which means our evening entertainment is typically just sitting around a camp fire outside with our neighbors. Exciting? Sometimes! It depends on who is squabbling with who! With that kind of drama, who needs TV?
My insomnia shouldn’t bother…too much. There is a curtain we can draw to minimize the light and noise in the main portion of the trailer. That will also give privacy for dressing. Surely that’s enough?
Of course then comes charging of the cell phones. We have limited electricity, so that has to be timed too. Can’t have too many things plugged in at once!
Meals of course will continue to be regular entertainment. We don’t starve, but I’m not sure what a princess would think of our diet of beans and bread, pasta and tomatoes, vegetable omelets, occasional meals fortified with ground turkey, the odd roasted & simmered raccoon, the occasional venison joint, the coveted fish we’ve caught for dinner, etc. Special treats are things like fried chicken, burgers, beef of any kind, roasted turkey, a bit of ham, an MRE entree, or even a freeze dried entree!
Somehow, I don’t see a princess being pleased with a dinner of boiled vegetables and ramen noodles. Peanut butter and jelly, even if its homemade jam or jelly…isn’t on the princess menu either. How could we feed a princess? Would she ever accept a dinner of dried fruit simmered until its tender, and then oatmeal cooked with it? Would she ever regard our po’folks version of bananas foster as a delicious dessert?
I’m afraid my princess friends are dropping like flies. I’m not only so far out of their realm that I’m peculiar, I now live like that too. What is there about my life to even briefly amuse a princess? I’m afraid not much!
But, even as I contemplate a princess’ reaction to my lifestyle choices, their opinion that its merely a hovel, I have to shrug. I have what is important to me. I can smile and laugh and joke. I’m not devoting my life to a fear that someone is going to try and take something away from me either. I also don’t have to worry about my friends embarrassing me.
In my crowd, even running around naked, a friend would just get raised eyebrows and a shrug. They understand…we’re not responsible for the lifestyle choices our friends make, nor are we responsible for their actions. If they do something stupid and embarrassing, well, we have ample joke fodder for years!
Thinking about the princesses in my life’s acquaintance, I have to conclude, that I’m happier even if I’m much more financially precarious. I don’t spend all my time worrying about keeping face or keeping up those valuable appearances. While I may not find my current state of somewhat “financially challenged” particularly appealing, I’m also not embarrassed about it. It means that I have to choose my priorities.
So what if I can’t take a trip to France this summer and have cafe au lait and brioche in the morning? I can lounge on the banks of a cold creek in the sun after a refreshing dip, and then ride my bicycle back to camp where I’ll have a cup of coffee and a freshly made peach fritter. I can ride to the Gulf of Mexico and watch the waves on a hot summer day, and play in the water before returning home, salty and tired. I might even stop and buy an ice cream to celebrate life on the way.
Does it matter if it costs a small fortune to buy gasoline to make even a short jaunt? They aren’t as often as I’d like, I’ll agree. At the same time, more frequent use of our bikes is good for us in many ways besides the exercise. We appreciate the van more when we go on a longer jaunt, complete with air conditioning, wiper blades, and lights. We appreciate its cargo carrying capacity too.
I guess my entire observation can be simplified to the realization that having money doesn’t mean one will have anything resembling happiness and that the inverse is also true. Being poor doesn’t mean you can’t have happiness. A lifestyle choice we make to ensure our continued happiness may not be one that other, less adaptable, people could make. I’m thankful for that–we’re adaptable, resourceful, efficient, and most of all…together!