It was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. While the Mercantile had been slow all morning, the parking lot had been hopping since at least 10 o’clock. The Mercantile got busy right at noon, and the shopping barely let up for the next four hours.
At 1:30, I ducked out to eat my lunch, leaving the complete operation of the store in the capable hands of the other clerk. As soon as I stepped off the yurt’s deck, I looked across the small front lot and saw a young woman walking toward Javier the camp host. The young woman was speaking loudly enough for me to clearly hear her say, You don’t even belong in this campground!
I looked around. Surely she was speaking to someone other than Javier. Javier was in full uniform–brown shorts, tan shirt with a collar. If anyone belonged in this campground, it was Javier.
I didn’t hear the first few words Javier said to the woman, but I did hear him tell her, You yelling at me is not going to help me help these people.
As this interaction was happening, I’d been walking toward my van. I took a few steps more so I’d be close if Javier needed some sort of backup or support.
I looked over at the woman who’d told Javier he didn’t belong in the campground. She was young, and appeared to be drunk or under the influence of some drug. Her eyes didn’t seem to be focusing correctly, and her face was contorted, but maybe that was from anger or just the way she looked.
We’re trying to help! she insisted.
A large man was standing off to the side, silent. He was ignoring the woman. Maybe he didn’t didn’t know her. Maybe he wished he didn’t know her.
I looked over at Javier. He was standing in front of a small sports car. I glanced over at the car and realized the driver of the car had somehow driven it up over a very large log set there as a barrier. Now the car’s front passenger tire was on the wrong side of the log. Apparently the driver was having a problem getting the tire back over the log, because Javier was asking the fellow who seemed to belong to the car, Do you think it’s light enough for a bunch of guys to lift it off the log?
At that point the drunk woman seemed to have backed off, and in any case, Javier seemed to be paying her no attention, so I figured my assistance was not needed. I climbed into my van and had some lunch.
Later I asked Javier how they’d released the car from the log. He said a half dozen guys had pushed the car while it was in neutral. It must have been good teamwork because I don’t think the car sat stranded for very long.
How’d they even managed to driver over the log that way? I asked Javier. Let me just repeat, it was a very big log.
Oh, you know, he shrugged, just being themselves.
I probably shouldn’t talk, as just a couple of days before, I backed into a tree and dented my back door. It still closes, and it still locks. The Man says I’m lucky, but I say if I were lucky, I wouldn’t have backed into a tree.
I probably shouldn’t talk, but damn! Driving a little sports car over a big log barrier in a parking lot has got to be a mark of bad driving.