The Peanut Gallery

by Rachel Gertz

Night Lanterns in the RV Park

Day 102

We have run into some pretty notable people while on our journey. The funny thing is, no matter where we set down our weather beaten RV, the people are exactly the same. Even funnier, as friendly as most people are, they keep to themselves. Sometimes we can’t even peg the individual, we just have to peg the vehicle and its oddball quirks.

We feel it not only important, but absolutely necessary to share these RV  park people types with you. You never know. If the mood strikes and you decide to have an adventure of your own, you’ll want to spot them before they can spot you. Your life might depend on it.

Antique Road Show
This type is known for the brass lamp that sits upon a delicate lace doily in their front cabs. They wouldn’t think of trading that lamp in for lots of money because it’s brand new and it sparkles in the afternoon sun. You knew of course, that the steering wheel transforms into a side table to support this lamp and the driver’s seat into a lounge chair so one may read the paper. The owners paid extra for these features to come standard with their Wilderness Champion  class A motor home. This type may or may not also be a Knick Knack Nannie. Watch for porcelain statues  of cats or clowns lined across the inside of the windshield.

Subtype of Antique Road Show: Prophylactic Plastics
You will notice that this type drapes their entire RV with protective covers. There are custom covers for windshields, plastic covers for tires, side mirrors, and hitches. It is an obsessive pastime undertaken by a type who might also share the Knick Knack Nanny and Nosy Nancy behaviours.

Knick Knack Nanny
This is the senior citizen who makes her home in the RV resorts of the southern and western states. Committed to sprucing up the world around them, Knick Knack Nannies thoughtfully place garden gnomes, patio lanterns, plants, shrubs, windmills, concrete statues, and banners about Jesus all around their rigs. You cannot mistake these types, as they’ll be out working in their ‘garden’, which is really just a crappy plot of grass and dirt that is exchanged for another every few weeks, and all of the painstaking remodeling is done once more.  At Christmas time you will see these types with a brightly lit, decorated tree and glowing balls sitting upon the AstroTurf. Inflatable snowman wave menacingly from the lawn and gift bags sit like soldiers over the side mirrors. Shudder.

Subtype of Knick Knack Nanny: Crazy Cat Lady

Often seen with thirteen skittish cats pressed against the windows of the RV, crazy cat lady never exposes herself to daylight and feeds her critters 70 kg of cat litter under the cloak of night. She violates all major RV park regulations, but remains unapologetic.

Paranoid Pug Walker
This distracted dog walker will stare you down out of the corner of her eye while stooping to pick up poop. She won’t talk or smile, but when your back is turned, she  wishes she’d invited you in for a spot of tea because she’s just that lonely. This type should never be confused with Mrs. Potato Head as she is far slimmer and wears her hair in a longer bob.

Nosy Nancy
Like the Paranoid Pug Walker, Nosy Nancy will usually be out with her pet, but instead of avoiding you, she come straight at you. She’ll engage you in thirty to forty five minutes of menial conversation about the weather while you try to empty your black water and get the hell out before check out time expires and you owe $50 for late departure. She is likely employed by the RV park for just this purpose.

King of the Swill
He’ll just stare you down from afar. He will usually be wearing a faded baseball cap sweaty with grime hat and have giant Miller High Life crushed in his knarled fingers. He is the king of the park. You do not want to engage in conversation with King of the Swill. It’s too risky. He will simply grunt and nod, spitting out your past, present, and future with zero regard for your feelings. May also be fit the bill of  Wolfman or Mr. Potato Head.

The hairy dude that lathers himself with baby oil and sits in his lawn chair no matter what the day brings. It could be pouring rain or hot as a rat’s ass, and he’ll be out there, shining like a non-stick pan. This type may be confused with a King of the Swill, but often more friendly (to a fault). Do not let your wives walk too close to these types or unwanted conversation and disconcerting sidelong glances will ensue.

Mr and Mrs Potato Head
It’s a tragedy. After many years of marriage, couples will undoubtedly start looking like one another. Everywhere we go we see women sprouting chin hair, cropped hair, and rounded guts, while the men begin to grow subtle breasts, let their bangs take on a rounded flip and they appear six months pregnant because their livers are locked in a bath of hard liquor and Cheetos. As well, you will notice they both wear sack cloth jeans that sag in the ass. Each day they swap shapeless t-shirts adorned with eagles and NASCAR ‘98, according to the laundry schedule. These types are a product of the RV lifestyle as exercise or creativity is seldom a priority on the road. Careful; Mrs Potato Head may also be a Nosy Nancy.

Merv the Perv or Lester the Molester
Merv and Lester both have moustaches. It’s a prerequisite. They also have stained t-shirts covered in mustard and wheel grease. Instead of a 50 foot big rig, they live in their vans, or in those trucks with campers grafted onto their backs. Rust is a necessity as it often distorts the vehicle model and license plate, making it more difficult to track their crimes. These types will skulk around the RV site, ordering pizza in on Monday nights and rubbing their facial hair while small children play on the swing set. If you think you spot a Merv or Lester you can confirm the siting by visiting Whatever you do, do not snap pictures of or approach these types. They are extremely gun shy and will bolt for Mexico if perturbed. It is best to call local authorities or simply move along to a four star campsite where the afternoon activities include bridge and horseshoes. Merv and Lester hate bridge.

Frankly, we think that if you have a mind to be a rapist, murderer, or wish to brag vandalism while you stay in the States, the RV park is the perfect environment for you. Just think: you are never in the same place longer than you want to be and can vanish within minutes (just pack in that black water hose). No one knows your name or your story. You can even hide behind your shitzu or poodle and look completely benevolent. You drive a big rig, so everything you need is on your back and ready to run. Furthermore, you could probably store a meth lab easily in the kitchen of your 40 foot rig. If you killed the purple smoke, no one would be the wiser. You could even cover your license plate with a motorcycle or small scooter to avoid detection. Why not?

We hope you feel more comfortable with the Peanut Gallery. You’ll be seeing a lot more of them when we get back (it’s contagious).

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