We all know—don’t we?—the demographic that comprises full-time RV-ers… They sport hearing aids and golf pants and live in Arizona or Florida half the year.
Once again, it’s time to challenge my assumptions. When Jon and I moved into this RV park in February, I was surprised to find two-thirds of the sites occupied by long-term residents… And I was downright shocked to realized that I am not (as I had supposed) on the youngest end of the age spread. My image of RVers was pretty severely outdated, as it turns out–we have nearly as many young families in the park as retired folks.
At one end of our row we’ve got 20-year-old newlyweds–he’s in construction, and she’ll find a new vet-tech job wherever his work takes them next. At the other end of the row, a young single mom with her feisty four-year-old daughter. Suzie’s five home-schooled kids mostly live on their patio in warm weather, and I’d pass one or two of the boys in the early morning, fishing poles perched at a jaunty vertical like jousting knights on their bikes.
Rachel’s husband and Justin’s wife are traveling nurses; the children in the one home (and the bulldogs & cat in the other) seem perfectly adjusted to the fact that their scenery changes regularly. We have veterans of various ages, and some couples and families who have moved closer to medical treatments or ailing relatives. We have our share of folks who are living here for some months at a time while a home is built or bought, or a divorce settled. And yes, we have a snowbird or twelve–but really, ours is about as diverse a neighborhood as you’re likely to find in this area.
Which leads me to the odd responses of an RV salesman this summer when my best friend and I spent the day exploring the cabinets and crannies of nearly every rig at a massive RV show on the fairgrounds adjoining our park.
Teresa and I both live in fifth-wheel RVs, and we both work at the RV-park office in exchange for site-rent and utilities, so you might think we get our fill of RVs already… But in truth, we see these rigs pulling into the park all day, and we’ve gotten curious how they’re put together.
We set out as if we were shopping for a trade-in (which, in truth, I’ll probably be doing in a couple years), each of us determined to find our “perfect” rig. Of course there’s no such thing–and we found ourselves imaginatively piecing together different elements of different designs. “If I could just have THIS kitchen-layout and THAT bathroom, with THOSE closets…”
In other words, we have (apparently) become amateur design snobs, shaking our heads at every silly flaw in functionality that presented itself to our eyes. Last year when my husband and I were shopping for a home, we didn’t know ALL the stuff to look for. We still don’t, I’m sure, but we’ve got some damn fine ideas on the subject now, and a much sharper eye for functional dissonance.
We’re more aware now of details like… placement of electrical outlets (in the home as well as on the breakers—I learned that one when my timed coffee-pot kept throwing breakers and killing the bedroom heater every morning)… or the physics of doors (bathroom doors and cupboard doors you don’t want to spend your life side-stepping)… or ways in which space is wasted or used well, or user-friendliness of kitchens (tall Teresa has to stoop to wash her dishes, and my kitchen doesn’t have counter-space and a sink at the same time… Luckily for me, my hubby’s culinary magic doesn’t seem impeded by the squeeze!)
Okay, so apparently the two of us in pigtails and tattoos didn’t seem to a salesman like the people to whom he’d be selling a fifty-thousand dollar rig. But if he’s IN the business of selling RVs, he shouldn’t be falling prey the mistaken assumption I made last year, that RVers are white-haired with walkers. We’re both in our 40s, not exactly (as a friend just kindly pointed out to me) “spring chickens”… Still, when I asked if any rig besides the Montana had the brilliant front-kitchen design, he waxed dull about mold in RV ceilings. Really?! That’s your sales pitch?
I know he had better than that in his repertoire, because he pulled it out for an older pair; when they expressed an interest in a feature, he towed them off to look at likely rigs. Anyway, I hated the rest of the Montana layout, but if we ever find that kitchen in a toy-hauler model, oh boy! And I know where I won’t be shopping when we decide to trade in. We’ll go to the guy who actually answered our questions, the one who treated us like grownups despite the pigtails.