Now that the store is up and full of merchandise, The Big Boss Man wants someone on site in the campground where it’s located every night. When the camp hosts are away from the campground during their weekly time off, guard duty falls to me.
To be fair, The Big Boss Man says, if you don’t mind to me whenever he asks me to do something extra, but it seems risky to me to refuse his reasonable request. Honestly, sleeping at the other campground is no big deal. The beauty of sleeping in my van is that I get to spend the night in my own bed no matter where I’m parked. Also, I’m reimbursed for the mileage I accrue driving back and forth between the campground where I live and the campground where the store is located. At 54 cents a mile, I’m not getting rich from driving, but at least it’s a little something to help me out.
I’m not sure what I would do if I woke up in the night and realized someone was robbing the store. The phone is in the store, so if burglars were in there, forget about calling 911 or my boss. I suppose I could get license plate number(s) and description(s) of vehicle(s) and person(s) involved, then climb into my drivers seat, start my van, and drive away to alert my boss. I suppose on my way out of the campground I could shout, That’s my purse! I don’t know you!
Before the campground opened, and I stayed there overnight to guard the store and the yurts, I parked in one of the paved accessible parking spaces. The gates were closed, and I had the only vehicle there, so I figured it didn’t matter if I parked in a reserved spot. Once the campground opened, I decided I better stay out of areas designated for folks with disabilities.
The first night I was on security duty after the campground opened, I drove through the area before parking in the camp host site. I knew the hosts had checked in two groups with reservations earlier that afternoon, but I saw at least five sites were occupied. The campground had gotten some walk-in campers before I arrived.
I was not on camp host duty, so I wasn’t concerned with any campers who were not checked in. The Man would patrol the campground the next morning and write permits for anyone who hadn’t been issued one by the camp hosts before they left. I hadn’t been given any permits (since I wasn’t working as a camp host), so I couldn’t have check in anyone even if I wanted to, which I didn’t.
After driving around the campground, I backed into the host site. I had a decent view of the store there, so I could see what was going on if I heard any noises in the night.
I knew I should have drawn my curtains immediately, but instead I sat in my passenger seat, pulled out my phone, and tried to catch a whiff of the store’s WiFi. I hadn’t sat there even ten minutes when I looked up and saw five people standing near my van, looking intently at me.
The youngest woman said, Hello! as soon as I looked up.
I greeted her, but I suspect I looked grim.
They would like to camp here, the young woman said, gesturing to the other people standing nearby.
Ok, I said, leaning back to speak through the open windows on the side of the van. A camp host will be around tomorrow to check them in.
Tomorrow, she echoed. Is there one site that’s not reserved?
I don’t know, I said, which was the truth.
I don’t have any paperwork, I said, which was the truth. The Man had the arrival report for the campground. I knew the camp hosts had put up a reservations card on each campsite that had been reserved for the next week. All the people had to do was walk around and read the signs to find out what sites were available that night.
The young woman continued to look at me expectantly. I’m just working security, I explained with a there’s-nothing-I-can-do shrug.
The people wandered away from my van and huddled together in the roadway, presumably discussing which campsites were available that night.
I learned my lesson that night. I no longer spend my security guard nights in the host site. I park behind the Mercantile and put up my curtains immediately. When I’m away from the host site, the campers don’t seem to consider me someone who might be able to answer their questions.