The Man and I have moved into our new digs out in the dessert, and we are slowly meeting the neighbors.
Most of the people who spend the winters in this area have been doing so for decades. Folks know each other, so newcomers stand out. Are you the girl who bought Coyote Steve’s place? folks keep asking me. They look a little skeptical when I say I am. Is their skepticism because I’m probably 20 years younger than the average person out here or is it because they don’t know if I have what it takes to be a desert dweller? I don’t know the answer to the question.
The other day, The Man and I were trying to get on the road. He had an appointment at a dental clinic, and we were trying not to be late. We’d stopped at the campground office on our way out to check on our mail. The Man was going to throw a bag of trash into the dumpster, and I was going inside to ask after a package we were expecting.
As I got out of the van, the three old guys on the porch eyed me suspiciously. I was in a hurry, so I’m not sure if I said hello.
Are you the girl who bought Coyote Steve’s place? the one standing up called after me. He had longish white hair and a longish white beard. He wore a red t-shirt and khaki shorts. I’d be surprised if he’s celebrated fewer than 65 birthdays.
I am, I said over my shoulder. I know I should have stopped, said hello, introduced myself, but I was in a hurry and feeling more East Coast than Southern.
Well, I’m your neighbor, he bellowed, and I like to party!
I just kept walking while wondering what information he wanted me to take from his statement. Was he offering me an invitation to party with him? Was he warning me to expect noise from his rig? What kind of partying did he like to do? Classic rock and whisky? Electronic dance music and Ecstasy? Was he hoping I was looking for sex with an older man? Perhaps I should have asked for more details, but I just kept walking.
When I got back in the van, I told The Man, That old man told me he likes to party!
I guess I was a little scandalized, not because a senior citizen might like to raise some hell and have some fun, but because he thought I might want to participate.
Well, The Man drawled, you can’t blame a man for putting it out there.