First off, our slide has been healed! Sacrifices to three of the RV'ing gods were completed in good order: The god of travel – to ensure the slide would go out only when we wanted and return on demand. The god of glamping to release our access to the washer, dryer, and our sock drawers, and lastly the god of underwear (not really sure why or even if there is such a thing but I'm confident it has something to do with socks and not going commando.)
For two weeks we have suffered with cramped living and the necessity of using the campground laundry in a most public manner (hmmm, perhaps this is where that underwear god comes into play) thus tarnishing our aura of camp hostlyhood (is that a word?). Can't have that, we could destroy the false impression some campers have of our absolute perfection. Isn't there a saying about a fool born every minute? This leads me to the theme of this blog's entry.
Keeping up the mystique surrounding being a camp host is just one facet of the job. Probably the hardest is the one of restraint – in taking that extra moment to bite one's own lip to prevent saying something untoward, or sitting on one's hands to stave off the temptation of slapping an errant camper up side the head or turning one's head so avoid seeing the resultant disaster occur when a warning is not heeded.
Walking hand-in-hand with restraint is perseverance. The ability to recite with utmost precision the very same words carved into the sign you are standing next to when asked about that same sign. (example: “Exact change required”) - [see sitting on one's hands].
A camp host must be resolute; steadfast in his or her duties when faced with a camper who starts the conversation with “Can't we just...” or “I was wondering if ...” These are the moments when a combination of biting lip and hand sitting are highly recommended. This past week's example: Camper approaches and says “Can't we just unhook the sewer hose without closing the valve so it can continue to drain?”. This while knowing said camper has yet to open the other valve.
Another example is when the same camper continues with “I was wondering if I can use some gasoline to get this fire started?”.
This is probably an excellent time to mention camp hosts should have an encyclopedic memory and instant recall of all the local emergency numbers for any campground they are hosting at. Further, when faced with areas of no phone service, what alternative means of communication are available – not withstanding the smoke signals and screams our campers inevitably produce.
Camp hosts are available. At all hours. In all kinds of weather. Regardless of the large, well lit sign saying “Off Duty”. This morning provided a fine example with a knocking on the door at 6am waking me from a very warm and cozy sleep – one which I had planned to continue until at least 8. The knocks continued while I dressed for the day, even though I shouted quite loudly that I was coming (yes, there were some under the breath and through a bit lip explicatives following that advisement.) Approaching the door I notice a bit of frost on our jeep roof and see the thermometer reporting a brisk 35 degrees. While walking over to our duty sign and making a production out of changing it from “Off Duty” to “On Duty I greet the camper with a smile on my face (amazing how expressive you can be while biting your lip) and say “How may I help you at this EARLY hour?”
“It got cold last night, do you think my hoses are frozen?” followed without taking a breath with “I was wondering if I should defrost them and how do I go about it?”
Normally I would have asked if the camper had actually checked his hose. Normally I would have advised the hoses were probably okay since it was just an early morning frost that would soon to disappear with the sun. Normally I would have done that. IF it was a bit later in the day. IF I hadn't been woken up so bloody early. IF I had had even one small sip of coffee. Instead I practiced one of the up-sides of camp hosting – that of giving out information that sounds thoroughly plausible but is absolutely useless to the recipient.
I replied “While this was an early morning frost, there is the distinct albeit remote possibility some portion of your hose may have experienced freezing temperatures. Thawing the hose at this point can be tricky as a too cold hose can easily crack if stressed. I highly recommend the chaffing method to defrost your hose as long as you do it gently. Get a soft terry cloth or those new micro-fiber ones and slowly begin wiping and rubbing the hose to make it pliable. You'll need to do the entire length, gently testing as you go to ensure you are not stressing the hose and risking rupture. Do that for about an hour or so and you'll be good to go.”
Yep, I'm bad. But lets look at it this way. The hose may well indeed have experienced freezing temperatures (true statement). For maybe a minute or two. If a hose is at absolute zero it can indeed crack if stressed (I've seen those liquid nitrogen videos on YouTube.) Rubbing the hose may indeed provide enough friction to warm them slightly. (Okay, this one was a stretch but it does keep the camper occupied while I returned my warm rig and made a fresh pot.)
Probably the biggest downside of being a camp host is eventually you have to move on. I wasn't kidding about the frost on the jeep – its time to head further south and a warmer climate.
As I look out the window I can just see the camper through the bushes. Weird how he's only about 10 feet from the water spigot yet he has a 50 foot hose he's wiping down.