I wasn’t supposed to be at the wedding. I hadn’t been invited. I didn’t know anyone in it. But it wasn’t my fault. The wedding party descended on the campground like a swarm. You can decide what kind of swarm as we go along.
It was a private campground, but a major management mistake had been made. Even though the 30 plus RV hookup sites had already been paid for, and were occupied by season pass holders, the whole establishment was rented out to the father-of-the-bride. Let’s call him Bernie. No one else paid for anything. It was just their’s to use.
We arrived unawares around 5 PM on that Friday evening, to camp with some extended family members who have a space there for the summer. There was music blaring from a meadow on site. It didn’t stop until about 6 AM the next morning. Then, they asked us to be quiet during the day while one of their toddlers slept.
There were campers and tents tucked into nearly every bare spot on the paid season pass holder’s spaces. Water and electricity hook-ups were being freely confiscated. Firewood was permanently borrowed. The 11 cabins for rent at the campground must have been filled beyond capacity, judging from the people and paraphernalia strewn about the grounds surrounding them, like a giant fungus puffs open and takes over a tree trunk.
There was no sense of boundary lines. People regularly walked straight through our campsite, with us sitting there watching them, until some yellow tape was put up by someone in our group. A few still went under the tape.
Dogs were running free. Some large dogs were on chains, but given slack that went right up to the path to the common bathrooms. The dogs were picky about who could go by, using teeth and growling to make their point.
The dogs were whining and/or barking for hours. Finally, one season pass holder blew a fuse and threatened to let them all loose so that they could go “play with the wild animals.” The wedding attendee-dog owner responded with anger and went to get management. I use the term “management” loosely. The only management present were the young adult children of the campground owner. He himself was conveniently absent. I had a ringside seat. The young managers were quite friendly with everyone, and hoped everyone could get along…
Bernie, …I mean the father-of-the-bride…, had parked his huge camper two sites over from us, on the space of a season pass holder, within about two feet of that gentleman’s camp trailer. He needed more room for his ATV trailer and ATV’s. When that season pass holder rightly asked Bernie to move, Bernie quite clearly said, “No, the whole camp compound is mine for the weekend.” He was obviously not interested in getting along, but rather interested in getting all he could regardless of how it affected anyone else. He was not swayed by any information about which part of the campground was actually available to be camped on. In his mind, he had bought the forest, the way a politician buys votes.
The local riverside hot springs could not be enjoyed by average campers, because truckloads of drunk young men were usually there during the day time. The ones who didn’t go were making out with girls at the
family socialist swimming pool. At night, a larger group of the socialists went to that same hot springs-fed swimming pool, filled it with cigarette butts, and left vomit on the deck. It had to be closed half of the next day for emptying and cleaning.
Semi-regularly, wedding goers quickly drove by in their ATV’s, kicking up dust that swathed the campground. This in spite of many children around. When one of our group went over to ask them to slow down, he was not sure how much of the communication sunk in, since the driver’s wits may have been in an alcohol haze.
Amazingly, there was no violence in that 48 hours, although a couple of confrontations had us worried. In the end, the season pass holders took the view that it was only one weekend. When the main manager-owner did finally show up on Sunday, he got quite a bit of “useful feedback.” These people pay $800 – $1000 for their summer spaces. They will not be customers for long if randomly subjected to socialist commune takeovers!
I’ve never been claustrophobic while out in the woods before. I don’t mind being close to people. I come from a large family and have 7 children, but this was not living with family. And it was certainly not living side-by-side with neighbors where everyone knew who was taking care of what and what belonged to whom. This was living among people who had no incentive to get along or be polite or responsible. I thought of Venezuela. I thought of prison camps stories where people try to carve out their own little corner under a staircase to call theirs. That weekend was as close to living in socialism as I ever want to get.