Over the years, my neighborhood has waged a personal war against RVs. Boats, trailers and campers tend to not be our favorite vehicles either.
I don’t think there is a person on my block, including me, who isn’t totally in favor of recreational vehicle ownership. We truly want you to have fun. But we also truly want you to store this vehicle somewhere other than in front of our homes.
This sounds very elitist, I know. In fact, my older son Rory, a clinical social worker who heads up a VA program for homeless vets, thinks we all lack sufficient compassion for the poor.
“Rory,” I said, “If you can buy one of these pricey vehicles, you do not qualify as poor.” I pointed out to him that no one has ever abandoned their upscale RV in front of my house for months at a time. That’s because people with nice RVs pay for someplace to store it. But people with decrepit RVs seem to be attracted like magnets to our block.
The problem is, RVs beget RVs, and campers and trailers. As soon as one shows up, word seems to spread telepathically to other RV owners who conclude, “Oh, this must be a friendly place to park RVs!” Pretty soon, our street looks like Camp Land West.
At various times, the neighborhood population has doubled with camper shell residents, whom, I had to agree with Rory, might well be homeless. One time a woman came to our door asking if Tony might have told us where he was going.
“Tony?” we said.
“He was living in the green camper across the street from your house for the last few months and suddenly he’s gone. He’s my boyfriend but I think he may have gone to Vegas with another woman. I just wondered if he said anything to you before he left.”
“Houston,” said Olof to me at the time, “we have a problem.”
But most of the time, the issue is not people living in vehicles but long-term storage. Technically, this problem should have been resolved with the advent of San Diego Municipal Code §86.09.06: Vehicles cannot be parked or stored on a public street in excess of 72 hours without being moved at least one-tenth of a mile. What they should have added was: “… and may not return to that vicinity for five years.”
Even after parking enforcement finally gets out there to chalk-mark the vehicle’s place on the street, some RV owners will drive it around the block (a tenth of a mile) and park it eight feet from its original location.
We in the neighborhood refer to this as San Diego Municipal Code §86.09.07: the Neener Clause.
Now, I’ve always preferred cordial human contact in conflict resolution wherever possible. In the many conversations I’ve had over the years with RV, boat and trailer owners, the two reasons they all cite as to why they are parking at my house are these:
1) They don’t want to use up their own home or business parking.