Breakin’ The Law

I don’t think Janet and I are cool in Virginia.

After a pleasant drive up the Shenandoah Valley, I thought we might cut over and head east again, after first stopping at a rest area so I could make some lunch in her little kitchen. I had a few groceries left, and didn’t feel like road food. Hadn’t used a rest stop in a good while, and wanted to relax in a noncommercial atmosphere for a change.

Pulled in, admired the ridge of the Shenandoah Mountains, went to the facilities, came back, opened Janet’s side door and felt like Ma Joad with dust clinging to me as I got ready to rustle up some grub. Actually, I felt like a criminal, though without having read the lists of rule and regs I’m not sure.


It is clearly not criminal to go and buy garbage from the huge bank of vending machines they have placed at this rest area. You can eat that at the nice, designated picnic area.

I appreciate how very well-tended the State of Virginia is. I also appreciate police officers, because they’ve helped me when I needed it. But I felt a creeping contrariness, and started slinging pots and pans under the eyes of the wondering fellow resters–and moreover I washed them afterwards and brazenly dumped the water in the flowerbed! Then I went around snapping photos and trying not to smile. A red-faced man with white hair who was watching me finally offered to take one of me too.

This isn’t a nanny state thing, it’s more like a daddy state. And he’s gonna whup your ass if you don’t stay in line. I’ve observed that the more rules you post, the more people are going to childishly enjoy disobeying them. When someone is overly excited about my behavior (which is rare) I find myself strangely feeling the urge to do things I would never do. It’s often hilarious that control freaks cannot grasp this–and I’m thinking of a judge I once worked with. When I said something that effect, she suggested I might be a sociopath. Excellent. There’s a woman who does not trust herself.

Anyway, we moved on, and just brushed up against the bottom of America’s Megalopolis, since I’m saving myself for my favorite city among them. Skirting Washington D.C. on the beltway, I looked north as Janet chugged up and over the Potomac. I could see the city on the river, with the Washington Monument tall and white in it’s pseudo-Egyptian, Masonic weirdness, and started singing ‘America The Beautiful.’

I found a snug campsite in the middle of the Delmarva Peninsula (on Maryland’s Eastern Shore) and have had a very nice day off in the unrelenting rain that is pounding on Janet’s top right now. I got to take a long walk, to an Irish pub in a nearby village. The door opened into a warm and lively room with lots of cheerful football fans, which was nice after the silent, deserted, rainy streets. Now it’s dark in the forest on the bank of the Choptank River (for any Michener fans–yes, Chesapeake) and I’m going to make popcorn and watch a movie!



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