A Walk In the Park

It was a quiet night at Chateau Walmart. I knew it would be — I’d stayed at this one in Chehalis, Washington the night after Mt. St. Helens. It’s been a couple of weeks since then, so a repeat visit wouldn’t be overstaying my welcome. A Walmart parking lot isn’t a great place for Lister to roam, so I did what I often do at times like this and took us to a nearby park. I figured we could hang out here until my lunch meeting, which I’m sure I’ll be writing about more later.

I’m always a little bit paranoid at small neighborhood parks like this. It’s just the sort of place where some NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) might not want a van lifer invading “their” property, even though it’s a public place. I hate confrontations and don’t want to get into one with them — or worse, the police. It’s never actually happened to me, but it’s a little bit of paranoia. I just don’t want any trouble.

I let Lister roam around on his tether, amusing himself, and being confused about these strange playground creatures in the background. I made myself coffee in my “outdoor kitchen,” then plunked down on a park bench for a while I noticed the older couple in the yellow house on the corner walking around outside while I was doing this. A little while later the garage door opened. They drove up and stopped. “Oh, here we go,” I thought.

“We just want to let you know how much we love your cat.”

I lowered my defense shields, and we had a brief, pleasant conversation. You hear a lot of stories out here about people living the way I do being harassed, even when they’re doing absolutely nothing wrong. I’m quite sure it happens. But most people don’t care, and some even appreciate it — and my cat.

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