It was Wednesday, and I was sick as a dog.
It was day #4 of my head cold, and I’d managed to patrol the campground for the camp hosts on their day off and work my four hours in the parking lot. I’d barely spoken above a whisper, but I’d conveyed the information and collected the money.
When I got back to my campground, I took a shower and hoped I wouldn’t have to put my uniform on again that day. I just wanted to relax in my pink house dress, then take to my bed right after dinner.
I was sitting outside my van, giving my feet a good scrubbing when a big grey pickup truck pulled into the campground. The driver took it around the whole place, checking out every site. I didn’t approach the truck because I wasn’t in uniform. Heck, I didn’t even have on shoes. I figured it was probably one of the vehicles driven by someone who was just looking around.
The truck left the campground, and I silently cheered. I barely had the energy to make myself dinner, much less go through the check-in procedure.
Unfortunately, my bubble of solitude was burst when the pickup returned to the campground. I grabbed a clean uniform shirt (and the same old dirty pants) and dressed behind the curtain that pulls in front of my bed.
When I finished dressing, the truck was parked on site #6 and two men were at the information board, probably trying to find the self-pay envelopes the new boss doesn’t want put out if the camp host is on duty to collect payment. I walked over and called out, Are y’all looking for a place to camp? They said they were and asked if I were the camp host. I said I was.
We all walked over to site #6 (where an older-than-I-am woman was waiting) to fill out the paperwork. The guy with the big beard and the intense look in his eye started talking to me. He was hiking the PCT (the Pacific Crest Trail, I knew thanks to Cheryl Strayed and her book Wild). He’d started at the Mexican border. He’d already dropped 35 pounds. He weighed (an amount I don’t remember) when he started. He’d hiked into (some place apparently nearby) the day before, and these were his friends (or maybe family members–he was unclear on that detail), and they were nice, and they’d picked him up, and he was going to take a couple of days off the trail.
This guy was talking like either
a) he’d only minutes before ingested a stimulant (and we’re talking something like a mega cup of coffee or a bit bump of meth)
b) he was a bit socially awkward and had never learned not to regale total strangers with every aspect of his current life within the first three minutes of meeting
c) he was so totally and incredibly excited about his current endeavor that he couldn’t help talk about it with everyone he met
d) he hadn’t spoken to another human being in several days
Then the conversation (which was more of a monologue) got really weird.
He started telling me about some hot spring he’d visited during his hiking of the PCT. It was a nudist place, he told me.
The nudist part didn’t surprise or offend me. I’ve been to free, natural, public hot springs. The good ones are clothing optional.
Then the guy with the big beard and the intense look in his eye said, There was a pervert out there. He was at least sixty years old. He was wearing a cock ring.
The cock ring part did surprise me.
First of all, the thought of someone wearing a cock ring at a natural hot spring strikes me as ludicrous. I think of hot springs as places to relax, and cock rings seem to be used for the opposite of relaxation.
Secondly, I was shocked to hear this guy I’d barely met talk to the middle-age, camp-host lady that I am about a naked older man wearing a cock ring. It seems like a risky topic to broach with a stranger. I wasn’t offended, but I could have been. How did he know I wouldn’t be offended? (Maybe he didn’t care if he offended me. Maybe I give off a vibe that says discuss cock rings with me.)
Then the man with the beard said the naked older man wearing the cock ring was hard. That’s what the man with the beard said: He was hard. And the naked older man wearing the cock ring at the hot spring had been posing. The man with the beard imitated the posing of the naked older man wearing the cock ring.
I wanted to scream TMI! TMI! but I was rendered speechless. All I could do was laugh uncomfortably. Why was the man with the beard telling me this story?
Before I could get us back on track and get the permits (camping and fire) filled out and signed, he told me about the teenagers (boys, ages approximately 13 and 17) who’d walked into the cock ring spectacle at the hot spring and their Christian dad who’d walked up behind them, taken one look at the topless ladies and the posing older naked man and announced that all of these deviants were going to Hell.
It was actually a good story, albeit perhaps not one to share with the camp host three minutes after making her acquaintance. It’s probably a better story to tell one’s buddies after a couple of hours around the campfire.
I guess it’s also a pretty good story to share on one’s blog.
The title of this piece comes from the skit “Cock Ring Warehouse” on the hilarious HBO comedy program Mr. Show, season 3, episode 2. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb-Kh1oJSGE.