I Just Wanted to Connect

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My least favorite part of being a camp host was the lack of privacy. Unless I was in my van with the curtains closed, I felt as if I were on display in a department store window. The worst times were when I was on my day off and in the campground. Even if I wasn’t wearing my uniform, even if I had up a sign that read “Camp Host Off Duty,” people in the campground sniffed me out.

One day off, I got back from exploring early in the afternoon. I pulled into my site and sat in the van fiddling with my phone. A woman marched up to my open door and demanded to know if I was the camp host. My answer that I was the camp host on my day off seemed not to deter her in the least; she let go with a whole list of questions.

The campground where I was the host is in a remote location, so I understand that when visitors see somebody–anybody–it’s in their best interest to start asking all their questions. If the woman hadn’t asked me, she might not have had a chance to ask anyone. I honestly didn’t mind answering her questions, even if I wasn’t getting paid to do it. However, when she launched into a tirade about the poor condition of the road into the campground, I was done. I was not interested in discussing the condition of the road. I was not interested in hearing her complain about something I had no control over. I was simply not interested. As politely as possible, I conveyed my lack of interest, and the woman finally went away.

Another day I didn’t leave the campground on my day off. I was wearing my bright pink housedress and doing housekeeping on my campsite. Some campers had come in the day before, but becasue I’d been off that day too, I hadn’t spoken to them. I looked up from whatever I was doing and saw the woman camper walking purposely over to my site.

She asked if I was the camp host, and I said yes, I was the camp host on my day off. She didn’t even have any questions for me, but she didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t getting paid to talk to her. I just wanted to connect, she said. Apparently it didn’t occur to her that maybe I didn’t want to connect, that maybe on my day off I was enjoying my solitude.

When she said she wanted to connect, she actually meant she wanted to talk about herself. She started in on a monologue about being a textile artist and the book she had written. She didn’t seem very interested in who I might be when I was not busy hosting a campground. I tried to be stay polite, but I was relieved when she finally wandered away.

Am I a bad person because I don’t want to connect with every person I meet? Sometimes I just want to be alone.

I took this post’s photo.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

6 Responses »

  1. I would not be too happy either. Kind of forcing you to connect and only hear what she had to say is honestly rude. I dealt with the public many years ago working in retail, no way I could deal with people now. Some are friendly and kind, but many are just too demanding.

    As an introvert I need to save my energy and not have it taken away by someone that wants me to connect with them. And very one sided not asking you about your life. SMH

    Worst part of my job? Running lame ass reports that are a complete waste of time not only to me but my customers. But that is what the “people leaders” want me to do. Oh the joys of working in corporate america and these terms they come up with. 😉

    Tina

  2. I completely agree. We are volunteer camphosts for 5 years at a national park at a remote campground. Why with all the payed Rangers can’t they cover the charges on our days off? They say we get 2 days off but we have to be gone the entire 48 hours or hide our truck and lock ourselves indoors. The campers need information and help. I see it as the managers mistake

    • I hear you, Pam. During my time as a camp host, I often left the campground on my days off so I could have time to myself, even though I would have prefered to stay on my camp site and take care of housekeeping.

      Thanks for leaving this comment of understanding. And thanks for reading too!

  3. One of the things I like about the FaMcamp at Patrick AFB is that there are two camp host sites. Each host is on duty for 7 days, then has 7 days off. A movable sign indicates which host is on duty.

    • That sounds like a workable solution, Tumbleweed Maggie. Of course, I couldn’t afford to take a whole week off, but I thought a system of two hosts at a busy campground with overlap coverage on the weekends and one camp host on while the other has two days off on the weekdays might alleviate some stress.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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