The night before last, the storm hit with a violent gust of wind followed by a loud crash. The flight to Z Land had taken off as scheduled. But no sooner had I drifted off to sleep than the Captain’s voice sounded from the cockpit of our RV, the HMS Jambo…. “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. Please return to your seats, fasten your seat belts and be sure your tray tables are folded and in the upright position… cause, Surf’s Up, Dudes!” And with that, he put a quarter in the laundromat dryer and hit “spin cycle.” My bunk was instantly transformed into a trampoline, center stage under the Big Top of the Greatest Show on Earth as I clawed at the sheets in a desperate attempt keep from being catapulted into the Great Beyond. The storm pounced upon us like a giant, voracious predator and began shaking us in its teeth in advance of a really big swallow.
Not that the storm came as a surprise. The TV weatherman had given ample warning. “…. and the winds will hit 40 miles an hour with higher gusts.” And when you live in an RV out in the middle of a great big, flat Wisconsin field, such forecasts take on a very special meaning. “Batten down the hatches” my invisible friend screamed in anticipation. But now the Jambo bucked and porpoised like a dingy in a stormy sea while our ears were assaulted by volley after volley of ear-shattering, apocalyptic roars.
“How long is this going to last?” Colleen cried out from her roosting perch up forward.
“Until the horn blasts in eight seconds,” my invisible friend answered, with rodeo humor.
“Just hang on” I yelled. “This can’t last forever.” But it did. Or at least it seemed like it.
Finally, night gave way to morning and the windy banshee howls of destruction departed, spent but utterly satisfied… leaving the stress and fatigue of two tired crane handlers in their wake. Feeling like we had just crash landed on some alien planet, I cautiously pushed open the Jambo door to find we were, in fact, right back where we had started, as if it had all been a dream.
And that’s when we heard it. The Call of Nature, I mean. I slowly walked around to our ever faithful porta-potty only to find it lying on its back in death’s repose, its Christmas lights still blinking with holiday cheer in the gray morning light. “Takes a licking…. Keeps on ticking,” I thought with a smile. Colleen had decorated our good and faithful friend last week. “Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit faster than the sight of a porta-potty with lights,” she declared. “Ho Ho Ho”
But this new geometry posed more of a compromise and challenge to its utility than even an adventuresome and limber me was prepared, mentally or physically, to negotiate, so it was time to stand it back up.
“Give me a lever and I can lift the world,” Archimedes said, about a billion years ago. Were he standing next to me, he would have added “And give me a dummy like Brooke and I can raise a porta-potty.” Soon, our good and trusted servant rose like a Phoenix from the ashes and was again standing at “parade rest.” I pulled open the door, my fingers clamped tightly on my nose, expecting to see a Super Fund Site… or at least Joe’s cell phone floating in the primordial ooze flashing, “Call Waiting.” But instead, everything inside was bright and cheery…. really Christmassy, in fact. It just made me want to jump inside and wrap a present!
So… jump inside I did as Nature’s Call grew ever louder, along with the sound of yet another approaching storm. And I was happily sitting on the launch pad awaiting blast off when suddenly the announcement thundered through the cabin, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. Please return to your seats, fasten your seat belts and be sure your tray tables are folded and…”