The “season” here is winding down and I’ve been thinking a lot about our neighbors. I’m the first one to admit that I’m not an easy neighbor. It’s not that we’re noisy and troublesome it’s that we are loners — and lots of people don’t know what to do with loners. It’s not that we’re anti-social, we just can’t tolerate too many people for too long, so we are slow to engage and hold our engagements to a minimum.
This is the second season we’ve spent here and while we have never felt like outsiders — the folks here have always be welcoming and inviting — this time we are clearly settling into the community more than we did on our first visit. One could be hypercritical and say that new ownership has somewhat to do with that — and I suppose an argument could be made for that. On our first visit here there was clearly an air of dissatisfaction with the old managers which has evaporated into the air with the arrival of new ownership. But I’m really thinking about the folks who make this a community.
With folks like Peg & I it takes time for others to have some idea of who we are. Neither of us is an active conversationalist. We are more likely to listen than to initiate a conversation. (Though it’s been said that once you get me going you can’t shut me up!) And of course if people aren’t talking — you aren’t getting to know them; you might think you are, but really they are getting to know you! Maybe that’s our thing. We want to know our neighbors before we give away too much about who we might be. (not that we have deep secrets!)
This season, with many of the problems in the park having been fixed, people seem more willing to talk about themselves than to gossip about the place. I like that. I might get tired of hearing about sports and cars and such — but I’d rather hear about that stuff than listen to complaints about the roads or why some resident was treated badly by the old management. I have a very short tolerance for negativity. Life is too short for that nonsense. (which might be why I’m having such a hard time with U.S. politics right now)
I feel as if there is a big difference between how neighbors get along in a Rio Grand Valley RV park than what you might find in a conventional neighborhood. To begin with, you probably have more in common with each other than you’re socio-economic status. In fact, there are folks here from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds!
You are all here for similar reasons; and I don’t mean the exclusive desire to be someplace warm during the winter, although there is that. The fact that you’re in an RV park or resort implies that your interests are similar, and that you are more likely to be interested in outdoor activities than in many normal residential communities. RV’s being the size they are encourages people go get out and about — and those that go RV’ing for any length of time seem to be those who genuinely enjoy the outdoors.
You can find some residents who never RV’d — folks who just ‘ended up’ here — but at this park that’s not the norm. Most of us started first visited here in our RV. Some came for 10 or 15 years before selling their RV and buying into a mobile home here. Others just decided to leave their RV in situ and drive back and forth in their car. There are still first timers, and with the new roads I suspect that next winter the place will be booked solid — get your reservation in now — No. Just kidding. No advertisements here.
But my point is simply that if you take away the things that people DON’T like and emphasize the things that they do like you attract people to your facility. The people who seem attracted to this locale all like being near the Island and near the Valley. They like being near services and yet being out in the country. Most of us have a fair amount in common. Shared experiences with RV’s can overcome a lot of the differences in lifestyle, economic level, etc.
Once you’re on site the similarities grow. Whatever it is that you do here is likely to involve you with a subset of the residents who share those interests. Fishermen find each other. Line dancers find each other. Quilters find each other. Andyes, people at the pool find each other and talk, and laugh, and have a good time. It doesn’t all have to be about conversation! 🙂
At previous homes I tried to get to know our neighbors. I failed miserably. It always seemed that our interests were too divergent from our neighbors. Often that involved alcohol. Peg and I both enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer with a pizza. We aren’t teetotalers. But we aren’t social drinkers either. — So neighborhood neighbors who often seemed to me to be big drinkers never had much appeal to me. Here at the park there is the subset of social drinkers — you’ll find them everywhere you go — it’s part of U.S. culture. But the community is diverse so that no matter what your preference you are welcomed.
As long as what others are doing doesn’t bother you then an RV park is a great place to be. What I mean by that is if you feel left out because someone else is having a good time in some way different than you enjoy, then being in an RV park might be challenging — because there are lots of different ways of being. And we’ve got many of them here! 🙂 Not only at this one RV resort — but also at many many more in the Rio Grande Valley. Word is that there are nearly 500 parks down here. I haven’t counted them all but I would be willing to bet the number is way up there!
One of the things that helps make friends is that with so many active RV’ers as residents here people don’t spend huge amounts of time in their RV. The weather is beautiful and people are outside — outside meeting and greeting each other, or doing something. That’s another place we are a bit different. The two of us actually spend a lot of time indoors — probably more than a most of the residents here.
I was thinking about this the other day. The home we had for the longest time had a large picture window looking out on the street. It was agreeable to sit in a chair near the window where the light was good for reading and to be comfortable there — where you could also look out the window and see what was going on in the neighborhood.
But… most RV’s don’t have a window that faces the street that you can sit next to and gaze outside. Most RV’s have their large window on the side. OH — you’ll say — WHAT ABOUT THE WINDSHIELD! Frankly, most of the Class A coaches and the Class B RV’s sit all winter long with curtains drawn over the windshield for privacy — no one wants people staring into their RV while they are inside. So, even though that big window exists — it’s not used for gazing — we ‘pretend’ it’s not there. And we look out the side windows in the lounge or the kitchen or whatever “room” in the RV one might have. This encourages us to get OUT of the RV, to have our chairs outside, to cook outside (if you are so inclined), even to watch TV outside — as many of the RV’s now have outside TV’s. The point being that people are outside a lot, and you know how it goes — when people are walking past you — you wave! And they wave. And the next thing you know you’ve had a 1/2 hour conversation and they turn on their heels and continue with their walk.
It’s a different kind of life in an RV park. You can be active, or sedentary. And you’re likely to find other people who want to do exactly the same things. 🙂 You can be social or antisocial — and no one will care — not really. At least not in this park.
I’ve heard it said that this park, Palmdale, is one of the few where clique’s aren’t a problem. I have no knowledge whether that’s true or not. All I can say is that we have never felt left out. Oh, you’ll see little groups talking among themselves that don’t make a point of interrupting what they are saying to include you — but I don’t take that as being cliquish. Every time I’ve tried to join into a group I feel that I’m safe doing so, and never have I been rebuffed. I doubt that it’s my terrific interpersonal skills that make them that way. (Of course I’m socially obtuse — maybe I’m being slighted and I’m just too dumb to know it — but I don’t think so 😀😜
Bottom line… we’re feeling good in this new stage of life. This chapter of Life Unscripted isn’t what we planned but it’s turning out pretty good anyway. 🙂