I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason, but every now and then I get a happenstance reminder of grand proportions. Today was one of those days.
In need of a mood elevator, I decided to drive over to the local Airstream dealership.
If we haven’t met, I love Airstreams. I don’t own one yet, but I want to. Really bad. I’ve done my research. I’ve read up on Wally Byam. I’ve stayed in Airstreams here and here. The Shady Dell and Kate’s Lazy Desert are both on my to-do list. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling everything and living in one, traveling the 50 states. I like the idea of getting an old one and fixing it up (cosmetically, I want it to run and everything). Logistically, I have no idea what to do to maintain a trailer, but I figure that’s something you learn. Right? Right. So I go to the dealership. And all the Airstreams are lined up in a row. And it’s just me and them.
I walked into each one. Touching things. Opening doors. Judging fabrics. Fantasizing. Figuring out which size would be best. And not just in living space, but for towing purposes. (I know nothing about towing, and probably shouldn’t remind anyone about the time a coworker let me try and back up a box truck in a parking lot in Vegas.)
Nobody bothered me. At all. I went into like 15 trailers and nobody stopped me or hovered or pitched their sale. I was on the best kind of exploration: unhindered.
The door to the showroom was open. I could see a Christmas tree. And a Woody hooked up to an Airstream. Curiosity led me through that door and into one of my favorite two-hour periods ever.
I met Leon, who – as it turns out – is from Cape Town. I love Cape Town. I was there for a good chunk of time last year, and find that it battles Paris for my favorite city. He knew the owner of the Granddaddy and the story of the Airstream roof. We talked about Wally and his Cape Town to Cairo journey in an Airstream. He was surprised to learn I knew as much as I did. Later in the afternoon, I would be surprised to learn he was part of the team at Airstream who a few years ago hoped to retrace the Cape Town to Cairo adventure. A trip I knew never happened because of cost and insurance reasons. A trip that, when I read about it a couple years ago, I couldn’t fathom the awesomeness of.
So yeah, kindred spirits. He explained the differences between the models currently on display. We discussed length. I discussed my fear of anything requiring a huge gas guzzling tow vehicle and lack of knowledge of how to manage driving the combo. He promised he would teach me and have me leaving the driveway feeling like a trailer-towing expert.
We walked through the trailers and he took me into the repair facility, where there were a few vintage trailers in need of some TLC. We discussed what cosmestic adjustments we would make. I admitted I liked the idea of an older used model (as long as it was in full working order). Not only because of the massive price difference, but because of the customization you could do during the renovation.
We wandered back into the showroom and added another salesman to our convo. Which evolved into a discussion about life and dreams and Airstreams and nomads and before I knew it Leon was giving me resources and ideas and Scott (the other salesman) was being all supportive and “if not now, when?” and I’m ALWAYS like that except for when I’m like, “I should have done it a year ago when I had better (more) savings!”
No hard selling was involved, because they know I won’t settle for anything but an Airstream. It’s a matter of when, not if. They know I currently don’t have a vehicle capable of towing a trailer. As the conversation began to wind down, Leon told me to come back before deciding on a tow vehicle and he would help me decide. Because of course I will let this man who is no longer a stranger decide what kind of vehicle I will drive next based solely on its ability to pull an Airstream. I mean, maybe I’ll pick the color.
In the meantime, they’ve invited me back for more chats or coffee whenever I want to visit. I asked if I could come back and sit in one to do my daily writing. I almost added “jokingly,” but we all knew I wasn’t. Airstream office!
Years ago, when I really REALLY wanted a Kitchenaid mixer, I used to regularly visit one at a nearby Sur La Table. You know, just go in and look at it longingly. (Full disclosure: I seriously coveted a Kitchenaid for no less than five years.) Until one day, a group of my friends pooled their monies and bought me one for my birthday. I’m in no way thinking the same thing could happen on an Airstream level, but I’m really glad I have a place where I can go and check them out, and apparently sit in one and drink hot beverages with new friends whenever the mood strikes me.
It just goes to show you. You never know how a day will turn out, and I’m so thankful for that.