Early Saturday morning (before eight o’clock) a car pulled into the campground. I was cleaning a fire ring, so I walked over to talk to the people in the car, two young men, just out of their teens (maybe). I asked if they were looking for a spot to camp, and they said they were.
I only had one campsite rented, two brothers on a bucket list trip who’d rolled in the previous evening. The first brother was driving a newer, red Corvette. He balked when I told him the fee for camping was $22. He thought that was too much to pay for a campsite. He asked if there were an AARP discount, and made a face when I said no. I asked if he had a Golden Age pass. He did and was happy when I said it would get him a campsite for half price. He was less happy soon aftter when I had to break it to him that there would be a $7 extra car fee for the 1936 International his brother (who wanted to share the campsite) was driving.
Hey! I understand wanting to save a buck. I live to save a buck. But it’s a little difficult for me to feel sorry for an old white guy driving a red Corvette on a bucket list trip. If he wants people to have sympathy for his financial situation, he should probably leave his Corvette at home. And if he doesn’t want to pay a $7 extra car fee, maybe he and his brother should ride in the same car!
But I digress.
I told the young men I had plenty of room for them, the cost of a site was $22, and the campground had no water, no showers. The guy who’d been driving asked if we took cards. I said no, only cash and checks. Then he asked if there were any stores nearby. I told him about the one fifteen miles away, but said I thought it didn’t open until nine o’clock, and I didn’t think it had an ATM. I also said I didn’t know if they could get cash back with a purchase.
The guy who’d been driving said he had a card, but only $4 in cash. The other guy said he had no cash. I told them they could have a site for $4, and they got really excited. The driver hadn’t been camping in years, he said, and the othe rguy had never been camping. The driver wanted to know if they could have a fire (yes, in a fire ring with no sticks sticking out, no flames higher than their knees), and the other guy wanted to know about bears (none sited since I’d been there, no food in the tent, keep food in the car, don’t a fight a bear for food).
I went back a little later with the paperwork, and the guy gave me his $4 in cash. The other guy said softly, I wish I had something to give you, what could I give you… I had a strong feeling he was contemplating giving me weed.
Did I think he wanted to give me weed because we were in California and he was a young man? Maybe. But I felt a vibe, and sometimes I just know these things.
I’m glad he didn’t actually offer me weed. It would have been awkward when I turned him down. I haven’t touched the stuff in almost two years, and I wouldn’t want to have it in the van while I’m doing this job. There wouldn’t be a point in having it. I’m not going to smoke it. (I hate feeling paranoid. I hate coughing. I hate feeling stupid.) In other circles, I’d know who to give it to, but here? No idea.
Perhaps my uniform protected me from an awkward gift. When one wears long hippie skirts and sells hemp jewelry by the side of the road, people make certain assumptions about one’s habits. When one wears brown, polyester-blend pants and a polo shirt bearing the company logo, the assumptions people make are totally different.