I noticed him when we moved to this new patch of rented stone driveway. The old man lived across the pavement. Every morning I would see him, hose in one hand, other hand in his pocket, watering his tiny patch of thirsty grass, watching the morning sun, the birds flitting about, or just watching inwards, somewhere in his mind. I would wave occasionally. I never spoke much. I didn't want to interrupt his morning ritual.

Then one day he was gone. He wasn't there and it felt odd. not right. something out of place. Two days later I found out he had been missed by others as well and a park friend checked his camper to find him no longer living, heart attack is suspected.

His truck disappeared that day. His camper remained there, his patch of grass slowly turning brown with each day, drying up and fading away. A few weeks later his camper disappeared. I noticed the empty stone driveway immediately. One day later a new camper filled the spot. A new couple, another neighbor. All I can see at the moment is that brown patch of grass thirsty for attention.

I wonder if it misses him like I do.

"You can take my picture if you want!"

The woman strikes a pose. I don't snap the shot. I was trying to capture my 13 year old with her young babysitting charge straddling her right hip, when three women walk by.

"No really, I don't mind at all"

She throws her arms around her two friends. My daughter is frazzled by the three little ones running about her knees. She has been lamenting to me that I don't understand how hard it is to keep them entertained and happy. I have to smile inside. I need to capture this moment so I can show it to her when she has her own daughter and remind her how amused I was.

"How about this pose?"

The woman again trying to divert my attention. I should just snap the shot, make her happy, and be done with it, but I don't.

"Do you want my autograph?"

She laughs with her friends, I smile, catch the moment of my daughter looking her most determined with the kids, say goodbye and start heading away. I don't like being forced into things. I had on my stubborn hat on that day. Later, the woman's friend came up to me.

"You should have taken her picture. Don't you know you were in the presence of somebody famous?"

I have to think, no.

"She played the young girl on Eight is Enough. She's an actress. You missed your opportunity." I had spoken to the woman briefly before, walking about. No I didn't recognize her. She was just another woman in the park community.There are several from the entertainment industry living here.

Last week I got an email from a friend on the east coast asking if I knew the woman who had died in her camper. He heard about it on the news. I didn't even know she had gone or from what.

She needed me to take her picture. She needed me to recognize her. I didn't even know her name.

I did miss my opportunity.

The police are here, blocking off a section.

"What's going on?"

My son says that someone has flipped out and is shooting a gun into a pillow. He says this as if talking about having oatmeal for breakfast.

The police are here often, usually breaking up domestic arguments. They are more noticeable here because of the close quarters. Many people packed into a small space. Overcrowded rat experiments pop into mind. Not surprising that people buckle under the stress. It does not surprise me anymore when they come in. I must be becoming hardened to it.


I was blissfully unaware of firearms in this place. Two hours later, the man is in custody, his firearm taken away. Forgotten by most within a day. As if it never occurred.

my false sense of security is shattered.

There is a sense of the impermance here. Neighbors come and go. Transient. I have formed loose associations with people from Oregon, Michigan, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida.....People from all over. Here for a month or two and then they move on. No forwarding address. We chat for a time in the hot tub, in the pool, over laundry. No closeness for we know it will not last. Rapid change. One can not making lasting ties here. There is not enough time. I soak up as much as I can. I listen to the accents. The memories of these people, young and old. Their thoughts on the future. So many ideas, so many opinions. I grab what I can.

There is no deep lasting connection, but it is something.

It is summer, the tent cities spring up in the field. French fills the air. Many french students staying for a week or two before moving on to the next location in their travels around America. They keep to themselve mostly these teens. This is just a place to rest their heads at night. They have so much to do, so much to see. I remember travels as a teen, soaking up the world. I smile for them. They are lucky.
She sits outside sipping her iced tea. She has arranged a lovely garden for herself and her husband. They are retired but are no snowbirds. They stay here year round, settled, quite content in their cozy camper. A canopy is set up. Potted plants surround the camper on the driveway, on the little grass patch. stepping stones with ivy dot the grass so they do not step on it, not wanting to disturb the greenness that they have. Hummingbird feeders hang from the awning. Birds are constantly flitting around it. Little footlights outline their space. Bright colored flags adorn the edges, transparent shade screen block out the sun. wrought iron chairs and a table sit outside. For such a small space, there is much packed. It all flows together. I would not be surprised if one day I find she has placed a waterfall. It is serene. She sips her tea, eyes closed, content. This is the life she has chosen.

I walk by every day, comforted in the one thing that has not changed since I have arrived.

I am pleased to see them. The hippy couple is back. That is what they are to me anyway. They lived near us when we first moved here. Very polite, very open, very happy to share their ideas. She is a performance artist, he a visual artist. They disappeared four months back. The campground lost a little sparkle. They are back for a few days. My son has them put a henna tattoo on his back. He is quite pleased we are allowing it. I am quite pleased for the conversation. I hear of their travels, across the country one more time. They have chosen to move to Hawaii. To live off their art and make a go of it on the beach. They are in their twenties, quite excited.

"You have to do what you love in order to be happy. The rest is just money. What good is money if you hate what you do?"

What good is it, indeed.

Do not tell me that trailer parks are just white trash and snow birds. Live in one for a year and then speak to me what you know of trailer parks. They are an ever changing flowing community. There are poor people here, there are rich people here. There are permanent people here, there are the floaters. Huge campers with slide outs, large spaces for those content on making this their home. Smaller trailers as well, side by side,even those "Rent America" trailers that fly by for a week at a time with new families fresh on their first camping trip. Some stay for the cheapness. Some stay for the simple way of living. Then there are those that stay for a time before moving on, waiting in limbo. A stopping ground. Yet somehow we manage to hold on to community, transient though it is.

It is something. For the moment, it is home.

From your agnostic, liberal and libertarian son,

Dad, you're doing alright, but there's no way you're getting classified as "super-rich" after sending a girl to college & having her bring home a surprise grand-kid, rehab and a pan-global plane ticket for another kid, Tammy's therapy and whatever else she did I'm not privy to. I'm not sure what you've done for Sara or Anne, but I presume there's something if only the borrowing of money. Lord knows I "borrowed" money over the years. There's a point to be made here, bear with me.

Why do poor people vote like they are rich? A lot of poor-conservatives vote for representatives that are going to take them to the cleaners and provide them no aid. And don't dare ever raise taxes, for anyone. That's socialism. Bear in mind that this hypothetical, poor family's taxes aren't going to be touched, considering the tax-bracket they inhabit toward the bottom. Instead of voting for a bill that would take more from the rich, who can obviously bear the burden more easily, and provide the trailer-family with help, they instead seem to enjoy a game called "pacify the purdy-prisoner" (an ugly phrase used in some circles consisting of one... for now). These people have surely been brain-washed to inflict such pain upon themselves. More likely they are misinformed, a none too difficult trick to pull off on our uneducated trailer-family. Indeed. The gap between rich and poor is higher in this country than at any other time in history. This should give us pause. Revolutions such as the French example (causing many be-headings) follow the sorts of economic inequalities we have, with a regularity one can set a historical watch by.

A quick aside here, the book Freakonomics says poor-conservatives vote this way because of the belief/hope that they will someday become rich. The lottery then (or similar device), becomes a steam valve venting the rage such a gross economic-disparity causes. Hope is a powerful thing, no matter the statistical impossibility that it will ever happen to you). I'm not going to put up my life-savings on the predication that I will be struck by lightning on a certain day unless I had a Delorean replete with flux-capacitor).

It's gone so far that rich people are finally telling the trailer-families of America to wake the fuck up, and align our country with a model that's closer to a more stable government, with healthier, consistently happier people. I'm afraid the bottom-line works great as the god of the business world, but it is an uncaring, viscous model by which to run a society of people. Don't forget what we're dealing with. These aren't numbers, votes or statistics. A new model need not change much. We already have the perfect document that lays it out quite well. It's time to get back to the Constitution. It's time to start using models that have borne fruit in Europe and to stop using politically-coined bogeymen like "socialism". These words have no meaning. They are not discussed intelligently and merely become epithets.

Here's the part that will sour it for you, "Warren Buffett said that for those making more than $1 million -- there were 236,883 such households in 2009 -- he would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including dividends and capital gains." Now, I have no idea how you have it stored and how much of it is liquid, but that would definitely raise your taxes, yes? On voting day, you can do as most do and consider it justified, to vote to your own benefit - knowing the poor, stupid Trailer-Family will provide the leanest of majorities by voting to their own detriment. Oh well, I guess they can just go back to selling Oxycontin.

I hate using people's beliefs against them (Nah, as an agnostic I actually really dig it, so that's two karmic-demerits for me, sapped from my xi by a Warlock priest.), but here goes. God listens to your heart when you pray, not your wish-list. I'm going to have to assume consensus here, forgive me.

On voting day, all you have to do is think back to the Sunday sermon, when they implored you to love your fellow-man as you love yourself, and ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" or more specifically, "How would Jesus vote?" Remember, God is aligned with no one's Party, Football Team, or securing parking spots for Soccer Moms. It certainly doesn't align itself with a country, a group of people, or a particular piece of land. People seem naturally adroit at anthropomorphizing their gods, aliens, and monsters. Jeez, I wonder if this stuff is connected and has a history? I'll stop here else we'll have to jump into Jung, and that's a long fall, and it's late.

Thomas Jefferson: When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

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