If there is one thing I hate more than high temperatures, its sweat. Yet, sweat seems to love on me because today I was drenched. Automatically, I was pissed off by this “vacation” my family decided on. (It seems my mom is going through some mid-life crisis that can only be solved with cracked earth and deathly high temperatures). Lynda (my mother), rented an RV and jetted us, my dad and brother included, across the country to some middle of nowhere desert to find inner peace and basically figure her shit out.
The economy has been failing and with Lynda losing her job she’s more unstable than the stock market. The hardest part (selfishly, I’ll admit) is how stressful it’s been for me. Taking on more responsibility than a normal teenage girl at home should, like making dinner for the family because my dad picked up extra shifts at work while my mom soul searches, has left me somewhere between a rock and a hard place. Which brings me here.
The desert. Or otherwise known as Moab Park, Utah.
My dad though this would be a great family bonding experience and Lynda believes the spiritual element of such a place could only enlighten us further. What was I thinking, you might ask. Well glad you did because I would defiantly tell you,
“This is bullshit.”
“Well of course it is.”
I whirled around to see a park ranger inspecting the family’s RV.
“You do know you’re in violation of parking protocol. This RV needs to be in the designated parking lots for motor vehicles.”
All I could think was who says motor vehicles.
“Oh, I’m sorry we honestly didn’t know. Where should we move the RV to then?”
“Follow me I can lead you to the correct location.”
There was a moment of hesitation in my step. Every speech my parents ever said about stranger danger filled my head instantaneously. Now that I was thinking about it, where were my parents?
“I should let my parents know where I’m going so they don’t worry about where I am.”
“If I wanted to kill or kidnap you, I would have done it already.”
There was no moment of hesitation, I froze.
“Isn’t that the kind of thing a murderer or kidnapper says?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“Listen, this park is important and I’m going to need you to respect the rules here, so if you could just follow me it would make both our lives easier.”
I followed him keeping a good distance in case I had to quickly run away. I’m glad I did because the landscape was beautiful. High arches of rock being molded throughout the years, long streaks of multi-colored stone surrounded me but then there’s the sweating.
“It actually is really beautiful here.”
“Well of course, this is nature, this is what beauty is.”
“That was pretty deep.”
“It’s all relative. Your perception of beauty is all based on nature. Just like the Moab here, look at the curvature of these arches. You perceive the elongated slopes to be amazing and romantic, just like the positive characteristics of a woman’s body: elongated legs, dramatic curves, etc.”
“Well then I must not be beautiful because I’m neither elongated nor curvy.”
“Rocks are irregular, strong, and solid.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“It’s my favorite part of the desert.”
“That’s lovely but again, I’m not following you. “
“Young girl, it’s all relative.”
“Well relative to home I’m dying of heat and miserable so how about you explain that one. How far away are we?”
“Pretty close, not much longer. This heat that you hate so much, is what gives life energy. Also, you are sweating out all the toxins in your body, that can’t be so bad.”
“I’d rather have all these toxins still in me at this point.”
“Of course you would say that.”
“It’s just you’re not looking at this in a relative perspective. You are free, you are one within nature, surrounded by beauty and happiness. How can you then be anything other than beautiful and happy?”
“Well I can honestly say right now that I am anything but beautiful and happy.”
“It’s this generation.” He mumbles, mostly to himself. “No appreciate for anything pure and good. No understanding for what is right in this world. Always negative always destroying.”
“Uh, are we any closer? How much farther till the parking lot?”
“Patience is a virtue, young girl. It’s merely another 10 more minutes.”
By this point in our little adventure I was questioning all life decisions and how I possibly got myself into this. Regret was hanging over me like the beating sun that seemed to never disappear.
“Look, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. I’m just here on family vacation and you’re the one who asked me to walk with you. I’m not trying to have a life lesson from a stranger, uh, no offense.”
“None taken. It’s not like you would ever understand.”
That’s it, I had, had enough.
“What do you mean I couldn’t understand? I understand you perfectly; you think you’re so much better than me because what you “get nature”. What does that even matter? I will easily go through my entire life not caring for one second about Moab or the desert or anything in this dumb park.”
“But you see, you won’t. You will be ignorant to what you truly wish to understand.”
“Oh my god.”
Right in front of me was a huge black lot of asphalt. Nothing so average had appeared so amazing to me in my entire life.
“Well looks like we found our destination. You can park your family’s RV here in lot B2. Goodbye.”
I headed in that direction only to relize my entire family was already parked in the adjacent lot eating dinner with not a care in the world.
“Wait, thanks for showing me back to the lot. Sorry for being so rude, I do appreciate your help.” I half shouted to the retreating ranger.
“You would’ve found your way, it’s just my job to show you the direction. Have a nice vacation and keep your RV in this lot.”
I sat down to the barbequed styled dinner of grilled chicken, hot dogs and macaroni salad (secretly my favorite food). I still remember my family laughing and having real conversations for one in what seemed like a long time. This was nice, I thought, while sweat accumulated in my lower back, relatively speaking.