In one way-the environmental way-the vacation was one of juxtaposition. In Westbank (near Kelowna) we stayed overnight at Ang’s “friends of the family” Bob and Donna Somethingorother. B & D live in a trailer park – a very nice trailer park – and their mobile home has a fireplace, a spare bedroom, and all the amenities. Furthermore, everything is in its perfect place. Orderly and immaculate – spotless except for where the cats puked. Donna collects bells and they are in a glass case. There is a fake dog that looks like a coyote poised to strike sitting on the porch. I felt weird about walking around in my bare feet in the driveway and then coming into the home (but I did it anyway). I was given a sheet to put on the couch before I slept. Ang called them “conservative.” I would call them square. Very friendly, but so straight-laced as to keep one from feeling relaxed.
Shea’s place, in the backwoods of Slocan, was the polar opposite: A couple of leaky trailers with tarps over them; a washer and dryer out by the fire pit with a makeshift roof to keep the rain off; three big filthy dogs. Shea dug Ang a hole in the ground to crap in, and I picked my own spot – no hole required. Now I’m not saying this is the kind of environment in which I’d like to live out the rest of my days, but I felt completely at ease. I could put my feet up anywhere – I could wear my shoes to bed if I wanted to (I didn’t). This is the kind of environment where you feel the urge to clean up after yourself not because you’re expected to, not because every empty glass you leave on the counter is a glaring mar on the landscape, but because you feel like it. I felt like helping them build their house. I felt like digging my own hole to bury my waste in, but I didn’t have to because one of the dogs ate it almost immediately. Hey maybe I could make some extra money in dog food.