I am sitting in the Pop-tart. My fingers are numb with cold after having made coffee and porridge. Beside me sits my shadow, Finn. We are boondocking at the Wal-Mart in Roswell, New Mexico. A boondock is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it is simply a place to stay for free, or perhaps a second definition could be someone in the act of staying somewhere for free. Thus, the expression “There’s a boondock!” could refer to both a suitable location to obtain free parking for the night or someone in the act of doing so. This leads to all sorts of derivatives. There are boondockers, there is boondocking, one can boondock, as in “Hey baby, wanna boondock?” You may have boondocked last night.
In any event, for us boondocking seems to happen partly by design and partly by a revulsion to the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the US greenback. Sometimes, like last night, we have rolled in at dusk and will camp for no other purpose but to sleep. We like to park beside other boondockers. Then the up goes the poptart. This is followed by a rest walk for Finn around the parking lot, maybe several loops which may involve pets from strangers. It also may involve a clandestine bowel movement (for the dog…we aren’t there yet.) We then assess our purchase needs and negotiate a transaction with the Walton family.
We trip over each other several times in the tiny space, invariably knocking something on the floor and trampling it. These are usually tourist maps that I have brought in to pour over later. It is a sort of comical chaos as we lose things, go to the restroom in the store, move things about to find things and to lose other things, work around the dog and after satisfying our inner nesting instincts, settle for a calming libation whilst petting the dog.
The dog likes to wake me up around 5 A.M. . He watches me in the darkness, waiting for any sign of movement. He then growl whimpers at me ‘ til I move. When I sit up, he goes ballistic – his tail thumps the walls like a frenetic war drum and he knocks something into his water bowl (Paula’s hoodie this morning.) This continues while I grope in the dark for a light to turn on, then remove my duvet socks, find normal socks, look for my pants and put them on, find my coat and put it on, and finally stand up. While this is happening, the puppy concerto moves to a desperate crescendo. The moment reaches a climax when, leash in hand, I move for the door, only to be blocked by an ecstatic Finn who has blocked the way in these narrow quarters. He is just long enough, and I am sufficiently inflexible, that I cannot reach the handle and locks to release him to his desire. The tail thumps faster and faster, the whimpering reaches higher and higher pitches at an ever quickening tempo, then HALLELUJAH!!! I open the door and out he flies , pulling me down the steps onto the dark cold asphalt to have a calm reflective sniff, taking in the scents of the freezing dark while I shiver and his dark eyes look at me adoringly.
The other details include making coffee and whatever is for breakfast. It was instant porridge this morning. A half hour of sorting and tidying , then I crank the poptart down was Polly circles it with a mini corn broom – pushing in the canvas as it bulges out. We clamp it down, unchain the dog, put him in the truck and get in.
We go through the vital checklist.
iPad, phone, ? Check.
Aliens in Roswell? …..
Time of our lives? Check!