Dear RV Shrink:
We live in our motorhome full time and have no home base. My husband likes to change the oil himself and always is very careful to catch it all and not to make a production out of it. Last week a national forest campsite neighbor saw him changing the oil and came over and pitched a fit. He said it was illegal to change oil in the campground and accused us of polluting. My husband was very embarrassed and put things away immediately.
I don’t think changing the oil in a campground is illegal. I also know my husband would never think of spilling a drop, and we have to do it somewhere. He has a very efficient system that collects the old oil and we carry it with us until the next town stop and dispose of it responsibly. I think he should have told the nosy neighbor to take a hike, but he doesn’t like to rock the boat. He is a little upset that I had a few words with the jerk.
We do not run into this type of individual that often, but they are out there waiting to pounce. Should I just turn the other cheek in the future, or bite back? —The oil sheiks of Wyoming
Sometimes people make up laws for what seems out of the ordinary to them. Some people have way too much time on their hands and need to supervise those around them, whether they know them or not.
I agree with your husband on a couple of counts. I consider oil changes the life-blood of my engine and do not care to hire it out to people I don’t know and can’t watch. I can see how someone might take offense at having repair or maintenance work being done in a campground while they are there to camp and relax. It is best to pick your time and place where you do not have an audience.
If maintenance is necessary, it must be done without spilling fluids on the ground or disposing of parts in campground receptacles. Perhaps in the past this neighbor had seen other, not so responsible RV owners leave a mess. Your husband made the right decision to clean up and shut things down and wait for a better time and place.
Your parting shots might have made you feel better, but did nothing but fuel the flames of discontent. It sounds like your bark is worse than your bite, but I would suggest you keep both in the holster. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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