Maybe Van Life Isn’t Such A Bad Idea

My view this evening

My youngest has to have 50 volunteer hours to graduate next June. He’s already cruising along getting these hours because he is all over deadlines like white on rice. A couple weeks ago, though, he was offered the opportunity to earn two more volunteer hours tonight by serving as a student ambassador at meet-and-greet at another school. He has been giving tours of Denver Academy as a student ambassador since 8th grade. In his sophomore year, he was promoted to lead ambassador. He takes this responsibility very seriously because he is dead serious about everything, especially responsibility. So, when he asked me if he could get these two volunteer hours by doing this event tonight, I had to reward his diligence. About a week ago, he told me that I would need to drive him to this other school for the volunteering. He had to be there from 6-8. I didn’t think another thing about it.

The other day I asked him where the event tonight was being held. He told me it was near Wings Over the Rockies, which is roughly an hour from our house in rush hour traffic. I did the driving math in my head. We would have to leave at 5 (after I just got home from school pick up at 3:50). If I wanted to go home while he was volunteering, by the time I got there I would have to turn around and drive back to pick him up. So I have spent the past two hours sitting in the parking lot in my car while he earned his two hours. Am I angry about this? No. I love this kid. I love his devotion to his school, to his graduation requirements, and to his concern about securing a successful future for himself by (hopefully) finishing as one of the top students in his graduating class. I’m not angry or annoyed about this at all.

But, I do need to pee. I am thinking now that I wish I had a van-life van. What good is a “luxury” SUV if there is no toilet? Just saying.

The Church Of The Blue FJ Cruiser

I like road trips. I enjoy driving, but I also like being a passenger. I like waking up in one state and going to sleep in another. This is why I volunteer for these cross-country road trips. Today, after saying goodbye to Thing One, I drove almost 600 miles from southern Washington to Salt Lake City. And I discovered something I hadn’t realized before. I mean, other than the fact that Idaho is too damn big when you just want to be home. I like to road trip alone at least in part because it is an opportunity to listen to all my favorite music, sing along, and have zero responsibilities other than arriving at my destination safely.

During the course of my day, I checked my messages at various rest stops. What I discovered is that extroverts think road trips are an excuse to have phone conversations with you. I had three phone messages from different extroverted, social friends and family members telling me that they were calling to keep me company while I drive. The first time I heard the recorded message offering to chat with me to keep me company, I laughed out loud. Do these people not know me at all? I don’t like to talk on the phone to begin with. I find talking on the phone while driving a distraction. And I especially think it’s a distraction when what you are distracting me from is the mental peace and quiet that comes with listening to my car stereo loudly enough that the speakers audibly vibrate. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get me out of my head for a few minutes? A solo road trip day is my introvert church. It’s disrespectful to call someone when you know they are at church.

The gold of western hay fields
If you weren’t sure about the drought conditions, this is what eastern Oregon looks like right now
Snake River
Nothing but wildfire haze as far as the eye can see, which isn’t that far