They neglected to warn me about “Charming Chet.” So when I pulled into the Florida RV park for the group’s campout, I was unprepared for the rude greeting I received.
By way of background, RV parks typically have a place to park your rig near the office while you check in. When I arrived, I pulled up behind another rig. Since there was plenty of space and I wasn’t blocking traffic, I was perplexed why a man, who turned out to be the aptly if ironically named “Charming Chet,” was scowling and gesturing at me to go around the rig. When I came up even with him, he continued to scowl at me (actually he had never stopped) and gestured that I should lower the window to better hear him yell at me.
“Back in there,” he said gruffly, pointing to a horrible space next to the garbage bins being buzzed by bees, “and leave room for HER,” he added, referring to the rig that had been in front of me.
I explained that I was with Loners on Wheels (LoWs) and wanted to register.
“I KNOW,” he shouted. I’m still not sure how he could tell, although the fact that I was driving alone with a small dog most likely tipped him off.
Cliff helpfully guided me back into the space. His instructions consisted mostly of hand gestures and bellows of “turn the wheel the OTHER way,” just before I was about to do so. Given that I had just had $1,000 worth of work done on the rear passenger side of my RV the day before to repair damage inflicted by a tree that came out of nowhere and jumped behind me while I was backing up (and to think I doubted my mother when she claimed similar secret moving objects when she drove), I took no offense at his unusual early-warning system.
When I got out of my RV to see if I was level (I wasn’t), Chet helpfully inquired, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I want to level out,” I explained.
“You don’t need to level out. You won’t fall out of bed,” he said curtly before turning around to yell at the next person he was guiding into what appeared to be my single space. Wrong. We would be “sharing” and Charming Chet would be getting double the money.
Once the woman in front of me was parked, she asked for the location of the electrical box and water outlet.
“There and there,” Chet said, pointing to what I considered MY water and an outlet that provided only 20 amps. Most RVs are either 30 amps or 50 amps, although we almost all carry a device to reduce the amperage.
“But I need 30 amps,” my (very) nearby neighbor said.
“Then run only one air conditioner,” Chet helpfully replied.”
“I only have one air conditioner,” my neighbor said.
“Then what are you complaining about?” Chet responded.
She and I exchanged a meaningful glance.
“How will she hook up to water?” I asked on her behalf.
“Are you telling me you travel without a T-splitter?” he scolded.
“I have one,” I assured him.
“Then use it,” he said. He left the “What are you complaining about” implied.
My neighbor noted that her RV was new and she hadn’t transferred all her equipment from her old rig. That happened to include a long hose. By scrounging around, we were able to hook three hoses together (one was my extra) to her half of the water T-splitter. We let each other know our showering schedules so we could generate sufficient water pressure to rinse soap off.
When I followed Chet to the office to pay him for his hospitality, he pointed at Missy and asked, “What do you think you’re doing with her?”
“Isn’t she allowed in the office?” I asked innocently just to piss him off.
“Of course not.”
“I’ll just tie her up outside.”
“Then do it.”
I tied Missy up as slowly as I could, to piss him off even more.
It’s almost funny how quickly I respond in kind to rudeness. Well, sort of in kind. Actually, not “in kind” at all. I consider myself the Princess of Passive-Aggressive Gestures.
When I joined the group for Happy Hour, I learned that LoWs had been coming to this RV park for at least 15 years. Not surprisingly, it’s exceedingly difficult to find an RV park in Florida during January that will accommodate groups of 15-20 rigs. It was well worth putting up with Chet’s rudeness year after year to have a place to stay. Plus after you knew what to expect, it wasn’t so bad.
I asked the group if they thought his rudeness came naturally or if he worked at it.
No one had an answer.
I suspect his discourtesy comes naturally and he’s become more adept at his facial expressions, gestures and rejoinders with practice over the years.
In keeping with Chet’s bad attitude, he has hung signs, including some that are nothing short of rude, all over the RV park. There’s nary a single space on the walls of the restroom or laundry area to hang another admonishment.
One night, upon leaving the Recreation Building for the night, we couldn’t find instructions on how to close up the room. Typically there’ll be a sign near the door with instructions to close all windows and doors and turn off lights. These signs also include words such as “please and “thank you.”
Apparently, given all the signs Chet hung up about not using the sink to wash dishes, not letting animals in the building, not smoking in the building, and other prohibitions, he doesn’t know how to write instructions without the word, “not” in it. I may suggest he post a sign that asks, “You did not leave the lights on, did you?” or “You did not leave the windows open, did you?”
My absolute favorite sign is the one that greets visitors.
I was sorely tempted to write under it:
”Not [insert curse] likely HERE.”