Long Reach. Part 3.


So off we went again.  This time through an area marked, “significant environmental district.”  We saw nothing.  There wasn’t one freaking “significant” anything. There wasn’t anything at all.   Once we were out of the “significant area” we saw lots of things.  Don’t get all happy for us like we won the lottery.  None of it was significant either.  The whole country was epicly “unsignificant.”   I think they only put the sign up in the hopes of encouraging people to drive through it.  Who could anyone stop and complain to when they found out it was just a scam?  You look around, it sucks, and you just want to get the heck out of there.   Look people, this is all I have to work with because it is either that or the travelling clowns that were meant to juggle the wallaby’s failed to show that day.

Obviously, this was not going as planned, but it was becoming the blueprint of our lives.  And the sad thing was we did not aspire to be special.  We just wanted to show up like all the other people were doing and see the damn significant things that everyone else saw, when they saw it. I was really angry that Derek was not making more of an effort to be significant – it was his idea to buy the damn caravan and basically, everything was his fault.  That is the rule.  Whenever a woman somewhere is unhappy, a man is to blame.  Derek is a smart man.  He looked straight ahead and kept driving in a deeply apologetic way.

He wants to live a long life.

We decided to park at a town’s show grounds for the next night.  That meant we would have electricity, and we wanted to see if anything on the freaking expensive caravan we bought might work if we plugged it in.  We weren’t hopeful because that would have been a “significant” event and we were miles away from the designated area.   We were quite excited to see how things would go.   Like, could we eat a meal and I don’t know . . . make coffee?  I was sick and tired of envying people in their freaking tents with a fire or a camp stove . . . sitting there enjoying the day, when we were stuck with Fluffy the insignificant, impotent, electrically challenged, dudd.  Derek was tired of me pressing my nose to the window and crying every time we drove by a McDonalds . . . and I hate McDonalds.

You know when you are so angry that even when someone fixes things and it is not a problem anymore,  you don’t care because you are not finished being angry?

Ya, that happened.

Derek was thrilled.  You would think he just invented the wheel.  All he did was plug the caravan in.  I am not claiming all the credit but I did excel in Sunday School as a child.  I did have the praying thing down pat, AND I am pretty sure that gives you some heaven cred with the angels.  It may have been the electrical power of the show grounds, but it could just as easily have been my perfectly phrased prayers.  Eventually, I deconstructed the hanging gallows I had erected in my mind, and took down the two nooses … one labelled, “Derek,” and one, “Fluffy.”  We had a nice dinner and a pleasant evening.  Even the neighbours next to us who talked non-stop did not ruin the mood.

I would just like to say that there are definitely angels among us and one appeared.  Despite our standoffish ways, this man rocked up to take our money for the night and made a smart remark about our caravanning experience based on the way we were parked.  I pushed Derek forward to take ALL the credit for that one, and pointed out I was Canadian and without snow, on the other side of the road, I was incapable of driving here.  Derek wanted to know what gave us away and the man quickly pointed out several things he had done wrong.  I stood there nodding like I completely got it.  I didn’t, but I felt it was important to make the moment as embarrassing as possible for Derek.  The guy was actually awesome.  He answered questions, showed Derek little things on the trailer, explained how things worked .. . . by the time he left I realized the caravan gods had staged an intervention, not because we deserved their help, we were a couple of idiots who did not have a clue . . . but because Fluffy was an awesome caravan that did not deserve to be treated so badly.  I hugged her and did not even care that the other fellow caravanners were looking at me strangely.  I smiled at them.  I made real eye contact, and I didn’t even care that they turned and looked off into the distance or made for their caravan door.    I loved everyone in that moment.

We were finally beginning to bond with Fluffy.

The little town we stayed in did not have much to offer but we went looking anyway.  Some people might call that being a romantic, or an idealist, or some nice term.  Those who are not sniffing glue refer to it as being an “idiot.”  We were in a little town in the middle of nowhere.   All the restaurants basically offered supermarket prepared meals, warmed up for us, and for only 29.99 we could have one of those chicken kievs microwaved, with frozen chips oven cooked on the side and they would throw in all the salt and pepper we could use from the free shakers on the table.  We passed.  Peanut butter sandwiches sounded awesome.  Maybe we could heat them in a pan on the stove that we could actually use now.

It was a good night.  We ate our heated sandwiches and we started to talk about keeping Fluffy and came up with ways to work out the practical things.  I organized the cupboards, cleaned everything up and felt human again.  My OCD thanked me … all was alphabetized and in its place.  The fact Derek did not have a clue did not bother me one iota.  I would direct him indoors and he could direct the outdoors, out there by himself, with me safely NOT in the outdoors.     I may not have peed all over the caravan to mark my territory (because ewww Fluffy was family now) but we both knew.  We each had our own space.  Besides, Derek was forever peeing outside the caravan.  Anything to put off having to empty the toilet.  I was going to support whatever he needed in that regard because I did not ever want to have to empty the toilet.

THIS is the true nature of marriage and one that needs to be discussed more in marriage prep and counselling.  Forget the roses and money, or even sex for those family therapy sessions.  WHO empties the caravan toilet?  Talk about the real issues that you will need to deal with and sort out.

We were clear.

“Clear” is what happens when the wife is hysterically crying and the husband is listening.

I did not want to ever empty the toilet.

I was never so happy to allow the man to take the lead in my life.  I put on my unburned bra and smiled at my Derek.  Love him to pieces.




“The site of the 150-year-old, 10-metre Ghost Gum located in the centre of Barcaldine in central west Queensland is a symbol of an important time in Australia’s political development. It was used as the meeting place for shearers during their unsuccessful strike of 1891. During that strike, as well as the maritime strike of 1890, a crucial and historical connection was forged between unions and what was to become the Australian Labor Party. In April 2006 the Tree of Knowledge was poisoned and did not recover. It was felled on 29 July 2007 but the site remains an important place of National Heritage.”  Australian Government – Department of the Environment and Energy