CrunCh

Dorothy Bell

 “Oh Mom you’ve really done it,” says Adam as he jumps out of the RV. “Mom it’s bad. Really bad!”

 It had all happened so fast! The tope, the peacock and the over hang

Two clerks come out of the hotel. They look up to the top of the rig shake their heads in unison and grimace in horror. Adam continues to say “ITS REALLY BAD!”

The clerks motion me to back up. I try but my feet are frozen. I can only sit in the driver’s seat and look at Adam and the two identical clerks with their painfully contorted faces waving me back.

 “Mom” says Dylan, “The air conditioner is leaking.” I take a full breath and shift the RV to reverse. The clerks continue to wave. Adam holds his head as if in pain. The rig backs up. We reverse over the tope.  I pull open the door and step back to view my roof.

 “Do you think dad is ever going to speak to you again? “Says Adam. “I mean you’ve totally done it.”

 And I wish I had a flip comment back because I know I HAVE TOTALLY DONE IT. My air conditioner is in pieces. The white cover on top is split into three main chunks and they are kind of just hanging there. The metal components are squished. REALLY SQUISHED!

 The two clerks continue to shake their heads. I tell Adam and Dylan to get in the rig and I – as I didn’t know what else to do – quickly drive away. I am beyond crying. Whatever this trip was trying to prove to me was also trying to prove something to the world – including Bill – and I had failed miserably; this on day one of BEING ALONE. My air conditioner was toast, actually a pancake.

 Dylan said, “Who would have thought mom that a peacock and a tope could have caused that. They should have a sign “Peacocks crossing.” That ceiling was way too low, don’t you think? I’m going to tell dad it was my fault. How many times is he going to kill you?”  My mind faded out.

 We drove through Lake Catemaco. People seemed to look at the top of the vehicle. I was a prisoner in my own mobile home. As we wound our way out of the town a man jumped in front of us and pointed to my roof.  “I know I said to myself, you don’t have to rub it in.”  I was ready to run him over but he stood his ground.

 He frantically nodded his head and pointed to some overhead wires that were dangerously low. Before I knew it, what seemed like a scene out of the theatre of the absurd began to unfold. The shopkeepers, taxi drivers and everyone else on the street seemed to approach the vehicle. One man grabbed a stick. A lady in a shop pointed out a limb from a tree. Another man picked it up.

 They together lifted the live wires above my rig. Above the metal bits and plastic remnants of what was a perfectly fine air conditioner. I waved. Thanked them and slowly maneuvered my way out of town. I felt like a dog with my tail between my legs.

 I drove. I drove on and on thinking only of the air conditioner. How I was going to explain this to Bill. How I was going to try to fix things. Was the insurance going to cover anything?

 We drove on and on. Adam and Dylan didn’t quarrel or banter in their usual fashion. They were worried about me. We stopped briefly at Rancho Graham – another campsite - near Agua Azul. It was an uninviting spot – a field behind some farm buildings. No campers. The pool was empty and filled with debris. The grass was long. “Can we go on” said Dylan. I want to make Palenque. Everything will be better there.”

 Everything’s better in Palenque runs through my mind to the West Side Story tune of Everything’s Better in America. We drive on and reach our destination.

 This story was written during our 2001 circumnavigation of Mexico.  The good news was that the air conditioner was eventually fixed by some very clever Mexican mechanics, the bad news was that Dorothy still has to listen to Bill tell this story over and over again.