Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

That is Illogical, Captain

In northern Illinois, this is the opportunity to get away from it all.

Now and then, I’m at a loss to explain what might be behind what I observe, when it comes down to the human element. It’s not just the verbal and nonverbal messages during conversations that are considered to clarify the message, the ones that are almost certainly there but are imperceptible in my realm. You know, things you’re supposed to be able to pick up on, read into, decipher, and signal back, in so many words and gestures. The lack of ability to sense and deal with them can be intensely awkward at times. When a conversation stops making sense or begins to become peppered with contradictions, that’s when I have the feeling that there’s something hidden going on that’s not showing up on my radar.

One might reasonably think that continued experience in dealing with such things would be the cure. You know, learning and adapting! That’s simple enough, right? Trouble is, the internal wiring devoted to sifting through nonverbal and/or inaccurate verbal messages is not ailing or handicapped. It’s just not there. There’s nothing to train. Things that made no sense decades ago are just as much of a puzzle today, and explanations by well-meaning people to help me decode situations often make things appear even more unfathomable. That’s Asperger’s Syndrome for you, the one that the medicos recently removed from the diagnosis books in order to assign it as a high-function version of Autism. That doesn’t do much of anything for you, but they feel that it helps them in their drive to categorize and catalog everything so they can sound more confident, so there you go. Sometimes, I feel like Spock sitting in the audience at a comedy club. He hears and sees all of it, same as anyone else, and yet “gets” none of it.

So… I’m parked in the oldest camping section in the Chain o’ Lakes State Park. During weekdays, ain’t hardly anybody here. Right now, there’s not another soul in my row. Weekends are another story. It’s jammed then. That’s okay. Gravel drives are laid out, and you’re required to stick to the drives. Gravel drives, or in my case, vestiges of them. That’s okay, too. But the quirk of this older section is that these drives tend to be laid out closely together, so that each pair of drives is within reach of the shared electrical boxes. Campfires are allowed only in cast iron boxes set on concrete pads, and each site has one, somewhere, and everyone has a picnic table that can be dragged around as needed.

This can produce a non-optimal situation here and there if you live inside your rig instead of tenting beside it. As for me, I’ve got oodles of space on one side, while the next campsite on the other side is sleeved in pretty close.

Non-optimal, in my view.

I awoke late Saturday morning with wood smoke visibly wafting in through the Intrepid’s generous side windows, which need to be kept wide open in order to survive the 90-degree daytime temperatures. My neighbors, visiting from Peoria, were sitting around their pre-positioned campfire made with purchased wood, enjoying it’s warmth. They were not surprised to see me appear to figure out what was going on, and apologized for the smoke. I was a bit surprised though, as my thermometer read 80 degrees and rising. Fortunately, although the wind was changing directions on a whim, backing the Intrepid up (as shown in the photo above) pretty much solved the problem. Thing is, the day’s high was predicted to be 93, and there had been no overnight chill to break, unless you count 70 degrees as uncomfortably chilly. No coffee pot, no cast iron pan with breakfast cooking. The grill section remained up and out of the way.

Now, non-adept at people skills as I am, even I knew that simply asking why they were huddled around a campfire in climbing 80-degree weather would be inherently insulting, no matter how benignly-worded. But I did think to myself in a very Spock-like voice, “Hmmm, fascinating!” I was stumped. Still am. But it’s a memory that will stick with me for awhile, as I’m convinced that there is some esoteric example or lesson in there someplace. Okay, maybe not.

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13 thoughts on “That is Illogical, Captain

  1. My theory, illogical as it is, is that the more brain-power we gain through evolution, the dumber the stuff we do. . .

    • You may be onto something there, Greg. Or perhaps the iconic symbols of camping have taken on greater power for us than common sense? But I suspect that there was a reason that I’m not aware of. Too bad I couldn’t ask.

  2. Hey Doug,

    I suspect these folks were of the “glamping” type and wanted just a little bit of that “woods” feel by having a fire? I dunno – seems what suburbanites might do.


  3. Linda Sand on said:

    My guess is that having a fire is part of their camping experience so they wouldn’t feel the weekend was complete without it. Then they decided it was better to do it first thing in the morning before it got even hotter? But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them roasting hot dogs and making s’mores later.

  4. That is one example of the hundreds of “interesting” things I have experienced in my ten years of fulltime RVing.

  5. 93°? Oh my! That makes it better here, and it has been downright hot and muggy, here in Kentucky. Kind of like having a sauna follow you every where!

    So they apologized for the smoke, and weren’t surprised to see you, which, obviously, means they knew it was going right into your window, and they still did it anyway. I don’t think that Asperger’s is why you’re having trouble understanding that particular sequence of events, or that kind of interpersonal relationship with your temporary neighbors. I struggle with that kind of nonsense myself, and I don’t have Asperger’s! Well, at least no one has told me that I have it! Lol!

  6. PamP on said:

    Oh dear! Campfires are the bane of my RVing experience. I hate having my rig and myself smell like smoke. Unless you are tenting and need the fire to make your coffee, why do it? Ugh! I sure agree with your puzzlement. I don’t “get it” either.

  7. They were camping, they had a fire. Everybody has their own quirks…

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