And I quote: Ann Patchett

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Occasionally I bring you a quote noteworthy for being profound or otherwise thought-provoking. Then there are times when the unexpectedness of a phrase impels me to share. There’s nothing philosophical in the line I chose for today, but it is nevertheless sound advice. Here’s the backstory.

One of the chapters in a book by Ann Patchett that I recently read was taken from an article she had written for Outside Magazine. Setting out to explore RV culture in America, she rents a Winnebago and drives around with her husband in Big Sky Country.*

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She’s a writer who knows how to evoke a feeling with a short sketch. Here’s how she describes their early experience driving the motor home:

After a while we pull up behind a truck going even slower than us, and Karl, after a long consultation with his side mirrors and plenty of discussion with me — his navigator, copilot, and the person whose name is on the insurance forms — opts to pass, a basic driving maneuver he’s been executing flawlessly since he was 16.

Which is when we very nearly take out two motorcycles zipping up alongside us.

We veer back into the right lane.

The bikers look up at us, not with anger but with bewilderment, their lives still busily flashing before their eyes as they speed by. A group of ten or 12 motorcycles follows behind them. My hands are shaking. Karl is pale. He’s been talking about buying a motorcycle lately. “I didn’t see them at all,” he says, bringing us to the Second Great RV Truth: There’s a lot out there you just can’t see. This lesson is important even if you never plan to drive one yourself.

And here’s the takeaway quote:

“Give all vehicles containing showers wide berth.”

This being a personal essay, there’s not really a plot that I might give away, but there is something of a story arc. She starts out among those hostile to the RV set, having crawled impatiently behind their giant bulk on narrow roads, muttering to herself, “if you’re going to drive a house, why not stay home?” But her own time driving such a house caused a change that she describes this way:

“[It’s as if] I went undercover to expose a cult and have returned in saffron robes with my head shaved. I have fallen in love with my recreational vehicle.”

You can read the entire essay here.

images.duckduckgo.com

Ann Patchett

*”My road to hell was paved,” in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

[Images: Wikipedia, writersvoice.net]

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