Still struggling through my mid-life crisis, I decided I wanted to buy a camper to take out to The Aunt Farm so that my husband and I could spend romantic nights out under the stars. Well, not under the stars literally, because I don’t like bugs much and I can’t sleep unless it’s on a mattress and…well, you get the picture. I liked the idea of spending the night in the woods, I just couldn’t put it into practice.
So, I hopped on Craigslist to see what I might be able to purchase for a few hundred bucks. Zoom! I was off like a wild hare leaping from a basic “I need something to keep me off the ground” to hey, look at these cute vintage campers turned into designer digs. I spent an entire day surfing the net and by mid-afternoon had contacted an owner of a 13-foot trailer that, according to the pictures, still had a strong “vintage” flair to it.
One slight issue (there were many, but let’s stick to the time line) was that said camper resided 150 miles away.
“Boondoggle!” I shouted to my friend/office mate, Sharon who immediately said “I’m in.”
In the old days we’d jump in the car and go just about anywhere. This time, she was responsible (don’t you hate that word) for her middle-school-aged son so we brought him along. We spent the first 30 miles teaching him to say boondoggle – as it came from him as “hot doggle? dog boggle?”
We arrived too early to meet the owner of the camper but thanks to Sharon’s sister, we were informed we were within a mile of the famous Juaraz Bakery. Off we went to hang out for a half hour. Unfortunately for my waist line, you can buy a lot of pastries in a half hour.
Finally, we met up with the owner and stepped inside the magical camper that would transport me from mid-life crisis to Nirvana. She opened the door and I gasped as I stepped into…my mother’s 1970’s living room complete with dark wood paneling and worn out blue polyester cushions. The cooktop had been removed and the electrical wiring didn’t work, but the good news, as the owner pointed out, she’d placed a portable toilet in the closet.
Now, I’ve got a pretty good imagination for design – When I bought my home it was filled with pink flocked wall paper and although the floors were covered in red and orange shag carpeting, I could see it’s potential. Not here though – all I saw was a flash back to the tiny half-built bedroom from my teenage years.
We left without buying the camper and Sharon’s son was strangely quiet for the first hour on the drive home. We finally got out of him that he was sad that his first boondoggle had been a bust because we went all that way and didn’t buy anything.
“Exactly!” Sharon and I high-fived each other. “That’s what a boondoggle is.”
Still not sold on the idea that we’d accomplished anything interesting I suggested he tell the story that he’d driven 150 miles to taste the pastries at a famous Mexican bakery. He agreed that made a much better story and we dubbed him an official Boondoggler.
I wish I could tell you I got the wild hare out of my system but alas, there’s more to the story. Returning to craigslist and upping my price range, I went out the next day for another long drive to look at a 35-foot trailer. No good.
Upped the price again and drove another hundred miles to look at an mint condition 1988 RV, complete with lined and pleated curtains. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it was clean and that’s worth something, right?
I drove home and spent the next two hours trying to convince my husband to drive back the hundred miles to test drive it with me. Strangely, he had no interest in that and had the nerve to suggest that maybe I should sleep on it and make a decision in the morning.
I did and he was right. Dammit.
According to the internet, a mid-life crisis is defined as the search for an undefined dream or goal and is manifested in behavior such as the acquisition of expensive or unusual items like motorcycles, boats, clothing, sports cars jewelry, gadgets, tattoos and piercings.
No mention of campers – so maybe I’m not having a mid-life crisis after all?