Picnic Tables

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The parking lot where I work has five picnic tables. I guess that’s what makes it not just a parking lot, but a day use area as well.

Whenever anyone asks me if we have picnic tables or a picnic area, I stand up, and while using flight attendant-type hand gestures, say, There are two near those rocks, one in the meadow, one on the far side of the restroom, and one at the end of this spur.

At that point, some people say Thank you, and move on. I like those people.

But lots of other people have more questions.

Which of the picnic tables is the best? some people ask.

I usually manage to say something like You’ll have to decide that for yourself. I figure I get bonus points if I plaster a smile on my face during such an interaction. Of course, I’m thinking something closer to I’m working! I don’t have time to lounge at picnic tables, trying to decide which one is best!

If I wanted to be philosophical, I could say, Best? What is “best”? Best to me may be worst to you.

Or I could answer the question with a question and ask, What are your criteria for best when it comes to picnic tables?

The more annoying question is any variation of Which picnic table has the most shade right now?

Just a minute, I think whenever someone asks me to tell him/her which picnic table at this moment has the most shade, let me pull out the chart on which I’ve logged the relative amount of shade for each of the five picnic tables in this parking lot, according to the time of day and the day of the year!

In fact, I’ve never sat at any of the picnic tables in the parking lot. I don’t know which one is the best, and I don’t know anything about the shade situation. If I were choosing a picnic table, I’d probably avoid the one on the far side of the restroom (who thought that was a good place for a picnic table anyway?), but that’s about the only advice I can give.

The Lady of the House says visitors to the parking lot see me as the expert, and they want an expert opinion on everything.

Let me just put it out there: I’m no picnic table expert!

I think people in this society depend entirely too much on experts and authority figures. People have grown so accustomed to someone always telling them what to do, they’ve forgotten how to make decisions for themselves.

This is what I would like to tell people when they ask me about the best or most shaded picnic table in the parking lot:

Boldly go through this parking lot. Walk from table to table. Choose the one YOU think is best. Find the table with the degree of shade YOU find most desirable. Do not rely on my opinion, but instead, form your own!

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I took this photo of a picnic table. Do you think it has enough shade? Too much?

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

2 Responses »

  1. “I think people in this society depend entirely too much on experts and authority figures. People have grown so accustomed to someone always telling them what to do, they’ve forgotten how to make decisions for themselves.”

    You’ve nailed it. Many people are now incapable of thinking for themselves. The media tells them what to think. The govt tells them what to do. Other people tell them that if they don’t think like them, they’re defective. The poll people tell them who to vote for.

    Just tell them, “That’s a personal decision. I can’t make it for you.” Smile. Or grit your teeth so it kind of looks like a smile.

  2. I like the “that’s a personal decision” line. I often say things so deadpan, people don’t know what to think. I could never make it at a National Park. I’m ok with that.

I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.