As we settle in a bit more here at Gulf State Park, I have been reflecting on “hanging out with a whole new bunch of people.” I have found that after almost 30 years of living in the same city and house, I have surrounded myself with “like minded” people. These are people who have the same interests and hobbies, same political and spiritual views, the same taste in music.
That all changes a bit when you pull into a campground and randomly park next to other RVers. I know we have one thing in common; we are spending an extended period of time in a house we brought with us. After that, the similarities or differences can be broad. Conversations start with “it’s a bit cold today, but nothing like home” to “where is home” or “how long you staying?” As you get to know some of your neighbors better, some personal views start to appear.
I have been doing some music at the park for Tues. entertainment night and Fri. jam night. If you have seen my guitar case, you have seen the collection of bumper stickers on it. Most of them (to me anyway) are benign but a few may be a bit more thought-provoking and maybe even offensive to some.
I’ve noticed two reactions to my bumper stickers. There are those who I consider fall into “my tribe” who tend to agree with my bumper sticker comments on life and might even tell me they like them and those who raise an eyebrow and I wonder if are thinking “what does he mean by that?”
What is more interesting is my reaction to their reactions. My intent with the bummer stickers is to express a perspective that might lead to a conversation or encourage someone to think about something differently. My intent is not to offend, and in fact it makes me uncomfortable when others are offended as I feel I’m being “judged.” I don’t like being uncomfortable, but it does challenge me to review what I believe because as the saying goes “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
So leaving the comfort of my “like minded tribe” for a new tribe provides a reality check for me. It’s good for personal growth, but it does cause a bit of discomfort.