I have done a pretty good job of handling my baggage on this trip, and confronting some of my fears and hang ups. I’m not sure there are words to describe how far showing up at a stranger’s house so I can stay with them for 3 weeks is from my comfort zone. Luckily, The Acorn is my mobile comfort zone, and like all my other possessions, efficiently stores my social anxiety.
One big improvement is my relationship with spiders. I was, to put it mildly, not ok with spiders. They are pointy and gross. They crawl on your face when you sleep in basements and lurk in the shower so they can spy on you when you’re naked. Washington was a big help in overcoming my aversion. There were nickle sized spiders everywhere, and I broke at least one web a day with my face. Not wanting to admit to strange dudes that I had a ridiculous girly fear of spiders, I held my shit together. Which is how in California, I found myself on a casual stroll with a tarantula down the sort lane that leads to my trailer. There was little to no hubbub.
But this trip isn’t all tarantula walks and strange dudes in the wilderness. I have acquired some new irrational fears. For example, I am terrified of losing my trailer. More specifically, of my trailer being stolen. I put a lock on it, and refuse to park it anywhere there might be people, because someone with a trailer hitch might drive by and might be in the market for a teardrop. What if it got towed? What if the blocks got knocked out and it rolled off a cliff? I realize that these worries are a symptom of my attachment to The Acorn and a reflection of the crucial role it plays in my life right now. (And my dad saying something about it getting stolen on the first night I had it.) Still, it’s a very odd feeling to have your home be so easily moved and I start to look at it differently.
Even though none of those things are likely to happen, it’s just not worth the risk to prove to myself that I can conquer my unnecessary fears. So, I keep the trailer hitched and locked, even if it is silly. I am on my own, and if being silly relieves my anxiety, who is going to know? (The Internet.)
Ok, so let’s talk about the coyotes. I am not actually afraid of getting eaten by coyotes and I know I am not the only person left on the face of the earth. But it can feel like I am out here on the farm. No cell reception, no lights and almost no noise. The only noise comes from rustling animals and the howling coyotes. People in the dark with no cell phone either get eaten by coyotes or chainsaw massacred. So I hear.
The eye rolling reality is that the farm house is a 3 minute walk away, with all of it’s electricity and wifi and emergency provisions. And truthfully, the howling is pretty beautiful, despite being spooky. I usually just remind myself that help is shouting distance away and that I don’t think people actually get eaten by coyotes.
That being said, I was, in fact, the only person on the farm on Halloween. The family had gone out for an event and I stayed back to FaceTime with my parent’s dog. I decided to make dinner at The Acorn just as the sun was setting. The coyotes started singing and they sounded significantly closer than usual. I realized that I am not super sure if people get eaten by coyotes or not. This was a job for Princess Leah Frou-Frou Von Jinky.
Leah is one of the dogs on the farm whose job it is to bark to keep predators away from the other farm animals. That night, I felt as though I was another farm animal. I called her from the trailer, knowing she’d be at the house and was reasonably sure she wouldn’t come, confirming the silliness of my fear.
In a spectacular display of canine devotion, she did come. Quickly too. I felt that deserved a treat so I offered her some peanut butter in a cup. She stayed around for a few moments, trotting around the campsite, and I lost track. Until the coyotes started up again and she came back, barking in their general direction. I gave her more peanut butter. Now Leah sleeps outside my trailer and I am reasonable assured I won’t get eaten by coyotes. All it cost me was a few tablespoons of peanut butter.
Now doubters and naysayers might disagree with me when I say Kirkland brand peanut butter saved me from getting eaten by coyotes. And survival or wilderness experts might tell you there are ways to protect yourself from wildlife that aren’t nearly so silly. But is it really worth the risk of being eaten by coyotes to not appear silly? Take it from me folks, you’ll sleep better knowing you have a field tested method of coyote protection, and buy yourself some peanut butter.
Say, Kirkland, ever thought about a sponsorship?