Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Camping Etiquette & The Social Experience

Greetings fellow campers! Had an unfortunate experience over Easter Weekend that I'd like to share and comment on, in the hope that it'll bring out some discussion and maybe effect the way we "socialize" while camping.

The Wife and I hadn't had a chance to get away with our camper in over 3 months. Although we are only 2 hours away from where we store the camper and have a membership at Thousand Trails, Verde Valley, AZ, we had both been working hard and had busy schedules over the beginning of this year. She had booked, in December, a few vacation day over Easter Weekend, so we had 5 days and 4 night's booked at our spot.

The first day there, after a fun-filled morning and afternoon, we returned to our campsite to enjoy the sunset, have a few beers, and get dinner started. Across the way was an older gentleman and his wife, who approached us, introuced himself, and made conversation for 30-45 minutes or so. Being that he's in his 70's, we respectfully didn't ask him to leave, but he couldn't take a hint that we wanted to spent our time together, and not with he and his wife. "I have to go in and use the restroom..." "We need to get dinner started..." "Well, nice talking to you..." Didn't seem to work. After he had finished and was going back across the way to his campsite, he said "I'll have to show you what I do for fun outside of Needles (city in California)." Little did we realize what we were in store for!

Now here's what I'd like to point out before continuing. The Wife and I are 46 and 53, working people, with time on weekends for camping. We stay at a place with a lot of full-time RV'ers. I can see that being alone or with just a spouse, you can get a little lonely- You aren't going into an office, or have any social environment outside of your partner, and neighboring campers. Besides that, we are nice people, that respect older folks, and we're outgoing, engaging, and generally fun and happy people.

The next evening, after some shopping, hiking, swimming, and exploring, the forementioned older gentleman approached our campsite again while we were enjoying cocktail hour. He brought over a framed collage of photos of his "rock sculptures" he created on BLM land, out near Needles. He proceeded to take up well over an hour of our time, describing his engineering skills, how much time he spent on these projects, etc. etc. etc. These 10 or so "rock art monuments" were dedicated to our armed forces: Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and more.

Again, not to be disrespectful, and certainly not unpatriotic, we let him continue as he completely disregarded our hints that we were pretty much done with his presentation. Not only did he continue on for over an hour, he then proceeded to take his framed photo collage back to his camper, and bring back newspaper articles covering his "rock monuments." It, seriously, took over and hour and half of our time.

Now here's my point in all of this. I get that camping is a social experience, to a certain point. We all share the same spaces, and need to be friendly, clean, and respectful of the spaces we share. This being said, I think it was insanely selfish and rude of this man to take up so much of our time that it pissed me off enough to write this blog!

We tried like hell to drop hints, not to be disrepectful, and try and let him know we were appreciative of his hobby, but when he continued on for 2 hours (about his health, his hospital stays, his former ranch... OMG), it was mind numbing. Short and sweet, next evening he brought over a rock collection, and we were much more impatient (and pretty tipsy on champagne) and to the point with him. I even went into my camper for 5 minutes just to see if the Wife would follow. No such luck- Just told him we have to get dinner going, hint hint. This was on Easter Sunday, as well.

A lot of people might even think his projects are a complete waste of time and energy. Couldn't all that effort and manual labor go into something like building houses for Habitat for Humanity? Again, not to be disrespectful of an older gentleman, and our armed forces, but a lot of folks would think his time could be spent on a more meaningful project. 

So here's a couple of suggestions for this guy and fellow campers that have no regard for other people's time and space.

 #1 If you are a full time RV'er, be mindful of others and their time together, especially couples, and families. While it's nice to be friendly, and have a simple chat, just because you have chosen a life on the road doesn't mean you should monopolize other's time because you are bored and/or lonely. People that work hard for time off would much rather spend time with their loved ones than hear your "Hospital Stories," and what-not.

#2 What you do for fun, adventure, or simply a way to pass the time, may not be other folks cup of tea. My passion is playing guitar. Did I ever even mention this once to this guy? Nope. Why not? Because he may not gives two-sh*ts about it, so why should I bring it up? Get it?  If the shoe was on the other foot, do you think he'd appreciate me bring an amp and guitar over to his site, plugging and, and proceeding to bang out Led Zeppelin riffs for over 2 hours? Maybe not, eh!

If ever this happens to us again, I will have taken this situation as a learning lesson and put my foot down, with a friendly, yet firm attitude, and simply explain that "it's been nice chatting with you, but we are going to "hang out" just the two of us. If someone takes that the wrong way and gets a pissy attitude, fine... So be it.
I won't be put in that kind of situation again, even if it comes across as me being rude, or unsociable.

Let me know what you think, and thanks for checking out my blog!

One of Jim Nickel's Rock Sculpture tributes to our armed forces. Go see it, before he tells you all about them!

Article on Jim's tribute sculptures:

The Rock Piles


  1. #2... all the way up.

    I find the randomness of daily events, is sometthing I am trying to appreciate and learn to marvel at. For example, say I am going to pull into Wendy's and I can see there is no one in the drive thru. But right as I get ready to turn in, the light changes and I have to wait.

    While I am waiting, SIX cars from about 25 in the oncoming lanes turn into Wendy's and 4 of those enter the drive-thru! And right as my light turns green and I can go, someone comes from inside the parking lot, with a whole family in the car, and enters the drive thru before me. The family in front of me takes forEEEVVVer to order and the entire line is clear before they even finish ordering!

    Sometimes, when I go to Wendy's no one is there and I go straight thru. I marvel at the world and how suddenly people and things appear in my path and block my way or sometimes my intended path is free from odd obstructions.

    Your story, Eric, is indeed, like a disaster at the register at a supermarket. The person in front of you has 50,000 COUPONS! and food stamps!! and a check they wanted to get cash for! You chose this line froma few options. Can't change now? Social foul?

    I have a personal weakness of not wanting to hurt people's feelings. Somewhere a long the way someone taught me it was like a flagrant foul in baskeball. But the older I have gotten, I have realized I have let a lot of toxic shit into my life because I wasn't willing to tell someone, "No!" and accept being frowned at.

    In recent years, I have realized my fear of hurting someone's feelings and allowing things into my life that definitely I don't want is really my own cowardice in drag. I have found if I am socially assertive in a tactful way, asserting of my own right to, [not watch your home movies of your visit to Aunt Maude's.] I can set my boundaries tactfully and still get what I want without being a perceived total asshole I feel like I wanna-be. I have also found in some instances, I either just shut the door, go inside or leave, cause it absolutely doesn't matter... not in the slightest.

    I have opened the door at dinner time to a sales pitch and not even said anything, just rolled my eyes just closed the door and went back to eat. Phone call from a salesperson, click. Sparechange? Nope.

    A person in my campsite? I would suggest not being afraid to assert your honest feelings and just telling the guy quietly, "Look, I am here to spend some alone time with my wife, this is our family time and we'd appreciate it if you could be considerate of this, for now. Thanks for coming by, maybe we'll talk to you later? k?" turn the social situation right around on him and present him directly with the EOD moment. Then if he persists I would ask him if he could "please not impose on us any further, we'd really appreciate some time to ourselves right now. This is a bad time for us. Maybe some other time. like never? How's never work for you?" All those buzzlines really work good to get the point across without being too hurtful. I think after we gingerly handle a few situations like these we become more comfortable and adept at setting up boundaries with strangers.

    The older I get the less sociable I am. I try to be an approachable guy but I am not as afraid as I was, to defend my personal space and my time.

    Sorry for taking up so much your time and space with my reply to your blog. (you did invite me to comment... did I overstay my blogging welcome? :) I'll let you go... maybe we can get together later? I got some great old Osmond Brothers albums I want you to hear!

  2. I would be distressed by this too! I would love some alone time with my spouse, that is time you can't get back! But I would never want to hurt someone who clearly was well intentioned. It's a puzzlement, how to let someone know they aren't welcome right at this moment, without causing them to lose face. That is what the hints were about, you were trying to let him down easy, but what to do when a person can't catch a hint? I guess the best thing would be what Mr. Sargenti advises, take him aside and let him know you are on family time! Sounds like this fellow needs a new project, maybe he could teach others his skill. Good for you getting away with your loved one! Take care,