with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Your Life is So Easy

I drag my laptop with me every night to the campground office, and set it up. My intentions are to get some work done during the moments between panics, since I hardly find time during the daylight hours. Sometimes I can get as much as 30 minutes of quiet time, other times, I’m lucky to be able to wiggle the mouse to clear the screen saver before the next person comes through the door.

I laughed after a man left last night. He came in and saw me sitting quietly at the computer on the kitchen table in the office. “It must be nice to have such a quiet place to work. I bet you get a lot done here in the evenings.” He went on and on to tell me about his assumptions of my life and then about his own life, and I just sat there, watching my screen saver once again pop up when 10 minutes rolled by.

As I closed the door behind him, I couldn’t help it. I just started to laugh hysterically. Tears poured down my face and I couldn’t stop laughing for several minutes. Before he’d arrived, I’d had two hours of trying to cope with a whole series of idiotic events.

Another adjuster, new to the industry, had called three nights before telling me his motor home was broken down on the highway and how he’d taken the wrong turn on the Interstate before it broke down so he really didn’t even know where he was in relationship to the campground, and could I sent someone to tow him to the campground. I told him that we didn’t have such services and gave him enough landmark directions to find out that he was only a couple miles away.

He called a tow truck and – I’ll make this shorter so you don’t have to go through the suffering with me. He called me in between every event all night long to report on what was going on and telling me that he would still be coming to the campground that night. By the end of the night, about midnight, he called and said he would be there in the morning before his meeting. I guess he then called in the morning and said he’d be there at lunch, and then at lunch called again to say he was still having troubles and would be there in the evenings…you get the picture.

Three days later, he finally shows up. His repaired motor home is parked in front of the VFW lodge in the strip mall two blocks away. He needs a gas can to get gas to put in his motor home. So Charlie lends him a gas can and the guy heads back in his car, then returns and asks me to go with him in his car to get his motor home so he doesn’t have to hook the car back up to the motor home. Dealing with three other people at the time, I told him I couldn’t leave. He took another volunteer. I explained to him how to get into the campground, where his spot was, and how to park. Very simple.

He returned with his motor home and promptly pulled into the wrong street and got stuck. I pulled out my flashlight and walked over to his site to help, leaving people waiting for me. After watching him try to put his square peg in the round hole, I told him he needed to straighten out the huge motor home and drive all the way around through the campground, cross the street and through the small neighborhood circle to turn around and approach it from the direction I had originally asked him to do.

He nodded and started to back up his motor home. Once straight, instead of pulling forward along the wide road, he turned sharply to the left to cut through the middle pull-through lots. In the process, he hit his own car parked there. He jumped out and yelled at me that he needed to move his car. I kept trying to tell him to stop and pull down the street, but he didn’t listen. He jumped back in the motor home and began to pull forward again. I stepped in front of the motor home, and shone the flashlight in his face. He stopped.

“Now, listen to me. Pay very close attention. You might make this turn, but you won’t make the second one. Backup. Go straight down the road. Cross the street. Follow the road around in the circle and come back and you will be in the perfect position.”

He finally appeared to understand. He drove through and I returned to the office where there was a line of folks waiting to connect their modems to the phone, pay their bill, and get change for the laundry and ask directions to any nice restaurants nearby, only to be told that “nice” restaurants in the nearby area were destroyed, that pizza deliveries are taking 2-4 hours in our area, and that they’d have to drive 5-10 miles to find anywhere decent to eat.

While handling all this and more, I kept looking out into the dark night for the motor home coming down the street out of the neighborhood next door. Nothing but darkness. I ran to the back of the office to hand out change for the laundry, and rushed back to the front – no headlights. I stepped outside and looked – no motor home nor new lights. I went back in, took payment from another guy, gave a woman directions to the nearest pharmacy, after hearing about why she needed one (I’ll spare you), traded jokes with a quick witted fellow-camper coming up for his nightly shower in the public restroom in the office, and still no lights.

I finally interrupted one long story teller to explain that I needed to go outside and walk the neighborhood looking for a lost camper. Man, I thought, what a way to spend a quiet evening. Walking the neighborhood looking for a lost motor home. I stepped outside and saw pin points of double lights at the end of the street. Finally!

What had happened? Maybe he stopped to pee. Maybe he stopped to eat. Carrying your back on your home, these are things you can do without leaving your vehicle. Or maybe he decided to do a night tour of the nearby damaged areas? I don’t know but it took over 25 minutes to make a trip that normally takes 3 minutes for other, slower and older campers.

I met him at his spot, stuffing down my curiousity and fury. Within 2 minutes, he was backed in, parked, and all set up.

I dragged myself back to the campground office to find it empty for a change. No washing machines vibrating the whole building, no banging of the dryers, no loud television screaming the woes of life from the hurricane zone on the horrid FOX News. No loud conversations or lines of adjusters waiting for the telephone, phone line, or bathroom. Silence. I’d forgotten what it sounded like.

I fell into the wooden chair at the old kitchen table and wiggled the mouse of my laptop to shut off the screen saver when the man with the assumptions arrived. Thus began his soliloquy of how peaceful my life must be and how wonderful it is that I have time to play on the computer.

Damn, I wish he was right. Too funny.

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