sleeping in walmart parking lots

I want to write more about memories. As I get older, memories that were once sharp with detail are now fuzzier, and it seems a good idea to capture the sharpness when still recallable.

We were watching the Florida football game this past weekend when this thought came to me: I went to many a UF game, sat on those benches, cheered and sweated in the blinding sun. But that’s about as sharp is the memories get. I was there, it was hot, we watched football, the student section was tucked over in the corner, the band was to our right. Flip-flops and shorts and one game we left during halftime to get a beer across the street and hustle back for 2nd-half kickoff.

When we lived in the RV for a year, we sometimes slept in Walmart parking lots. It sounds inglorious, cheap, seedy, maybe even scary or dangerous? There are pieces of sharpness to those memories that I’d like to capture though, because they are somehow special.

We always parked near or under an overhead lamp, so there was always light streaming through the RV ceiling vents all night. We’d hear big rigs coming and going, engines idling or air brakes releasing. Sometimes, super early in the morning, we’d hear or observe vanpools – cars coming in one-by-one, folks standing around chatting quietly, drinking coffee in travel mugs brought from home, awaiting their quorum before setting out together and leaving their vehicles for the day.

Sharaun always took advantage of the Walmart stays. She’d wake early and go grocery shopping before the place got busy. We’d be stocked-up and ready to roll before 8am. Sometimes we’d all go in and shop for dinner, take our ingredients back to the RV to prepare and eat them, and then take a trip back to wander around, killing time, maybe grab an ice cream cone from the integrated McDonalds.

If it was hot you could run the generator all night to have AC, no one to bother when you’re way out at the end of an empty parking lot. I used to enjoy walking around inside the RV in my underwear while overnighting at Walmart… even though we were smack in the middle of a very public place we still had a little enclosed enclave where we were the masters of our domain.

Sharpness. I gotta get more of that down. Love you.


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