I set my alarm for 9:30 am on workdays, and today I jerked awake, my heart pounding, at 12:07. I vaguely remember hitting the snooze button a number of times, and at some point was apparently able to stop the terrible chirping altogether.
Grrr… This is not the way I like to start a day.
In any case, I was going to tell you about my latest altercation with a park ranger today, and will try to squeeze that into whatever time I have available — which isn’t much. Shit, I’m starting to feel like an excuse factory…
What’s the deal with park rangers, anyway? Seriously. Every time I spend time at our local state park, I find myself in some sort of “conversation” with one of those guys. Every single time, without exception.
The day before my latest yurt adventure was to kick-off, I called the park office to see if I could check-in at 1 pm, instead of 3 pm. There’s nobody in that campground this time of year, especially during the week. I figured it wouldn’t matter, one way or the other. Right?
Wrong. The woman said I had to wait until 3, so they could clean it. And she acted like my request was simply outrageous, and unprecedented.
“Are people actually staying in it the night before?” I asked.
“Well, no. But somebody could show up later,” she said.
“Forget it,” I said, with a hint of attitude. “I don’t want to throw everyone into a panic by asking that the rules be relaxed a tiny bit. My god, that would be unthinkable.”
“Would you like to speak with the park manager?”
So, I was already aggravated. Anyone with even a droplet of common sense knew that ridiculous thing would not be rented the night before. It was cold and rainy, and the campground was empty. But whatever.
I arrived at 3 pm, and the yurt was locked. It’s supposed to be open, with the key on the table. But it was locked-down, and not another human was there. And at this point I started using a lot of grown-up words…
I still had the office number in my phone, from the previous day’s fun, and called it. A busy signal. My blood pressure was rising, steadily and consistently. I stood around and waited for about five minutes, and called it again. Busy.
So, I’d have to drive over there. And it’s not exactly right next door. It’s a bit of a haul.
When I got there, an older woman said, “Can I help you?” in a tone that suggested I might be smeared in animal feces. What the hell, man? Why the constant hostility? I told her the story, and she grabbed the key off a nail sticking out of the wall.
“I’ll have someone bring it to you,” she said.
“Why can’t you just give it to me now?” I asked.
“That’s not the way it works,” she answered.
Good god! I went back to the yurt, and eventually a man showed up, and unlocked the door for me. He then handed me the key, and told me to enjoy my stay.
I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but I’m fairly confident I could’ve opened that door without his help.
A little later, an official ranger showed up and apologized for the mix-up. He was friendly, and we stood around talking for a few minutes. He seemed like a good guy, and I wondered if I might be judging the place a little too harshly.
But the next day I received my answer. I was writing, it was mid-afternoon, and I heard a car pull into the driveway in front of the yurt. So, I got up and looked out the door. It was another ranger.
I walked out onto the porch, and the guy had an angry/exasperated expression on his face.
“Can I help you?” he said, aggressively.
“What are you doing here? What are you doing inside this yurt?”
“What the hell? What do you mean? I rented it.”
“You rented it?” he chuckled, sarcastically. “Well, would you happen to have your paperwork handy?”
“Yeah, it’s right here,” I told him, and went back inside to retrieve it.
And he came inside behind me, and started looking around. WTF? The guy was all cocky and accusatory, and I handed him the paper.
“You’re supposed to tear off the bottom, and stick it to the pole outside,” he said.
“Nobody told me to do that.”
“Well, that’s the way it works,” he grumbled.
“So, you think I just go around from state park to state park, breaking into yurts?”
“If you’d followed the rules, I wouldn’t have had to bother you,” he said, and left.
What a fantastic, fully-realized asshole. And it happens every time I go there. It’s not the same guy, but one of them hassles me about something every time. Every single time.
Toney says I should file a complaint with the park manager, and I considered it. But I have trouble hanging on to anger. Know what I mean? Some people seem to maintain it for a good long time, but it usually evaporates quickly with me. Oh well.
And that’s my latest run-in with the forest police, or whatever. Have you ever had any problems with one of those guys (the rules! the rules!), or am I just the lucky one? Tell us about it, if you have.
In fact, why not tell us about your latest encounter with an asshole, whether it was in a state park, or at Target, or wherever. Use the comments link below.
And I need to go, like right now.
See ya tomorrow!