Today I had an experience that was so surreal that I felt like I had stepped into the Twilight Zone. I haven’t posted here in a while, but I thought I would share, as some of you might get a kick out of it.
Also, it might prevent someone from choosing David RV Court in the future, and that can only make the world a happier place.
This morning, I hooked up my trailer and headed for a new RV park that would allow me to bike to class. I already knew that the place was a bit ghetto, but I had decided to give it a go because it would save me significant gas money to be within biking distance of town, and I don’t really spend that much time at my trailer.
Here are some details so you can picture it: It’s a tiny place wedged onto about an acre lot between an old church and a suspicious-looking corner gas station. The roads were pitted with deep cracks and potholes (not to mention narrow). It’s currently under construction, so there was “Caution” tape and big piles of dirt everywhere. The RVs were crammed in like sardines and surrounded by rednecky piles of random junk. There was random litter carelessly scattered around on the ground in various places. And that’s not even to mention the noise of the construction and a nearby highway. The only louder place that I’ve stayed in the past year was a truck stop, surrounded by idling diesel engines. I’m pretty sure I smelled something mildly illegal as I drove into the park, but I can’t say for sure.
Obviously, not exactly a first class resort, but I’ve lived in worse conditions back when I was poor and living in ghetto apartments. I was willing to give it a go.
When I arrived, it took a few minutes for the manager to get there to meet me, but that was no big deal. It’s Saturday, after all, and I pretty much expect a certain lack of professionalism from RV park owners and managers. I’d rather deal with friendly unprofessionalism than a polished corporate shark trying to dig as deep into my pockets as he can! So I just settled in to wait and was grateful that it wasn’t long.
The manager turned out to be a short, stout woman with a face that looked like she had just sucked a whole bag full of lemons. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d done to piss her off so badly, but whatever it was, she didn’t mention it. She gave me some vaguely comprehensible instructions about where the spot was, so I drove around to the other side of the tiny park. (Bumping my trailer hitch on the curb terribly in the process because of the poor construction of the road.)
After some confusion about which spot it was (my spot was filled with construction workers’ cars, so I mistook an empty but unavailable spot for my own), the manager finally got me to my spot. I drove around the park to get my vehicle facing the proper direction for pulling in, and by the time I got back to the spot, she’d vanished.
No problem. I can back a trailer without help, and it wasn’t a terribly narrow spot. The spot was a little confusing, because it consisted of a slab of concrete so broken and overgrown with grass that it was hardly distinguishable from the neighboring gravel parking space, but finally I got everything set up and leveled, and unhooked my trailer.
Before I continue, let me point out that it took me awhile to get unhooked, leveled, and hook up my utilities. I was starving, so I stopped to eat breakfast before even unhooking the trailer, and talked on the phone for a little while with a family member who was in distress and really needed to talk to someone (long story). The manager had more than enough time to come by and check things out before I ever got unhooked, but I didn’t catch a glimpse of her again until after the trailer was unhooked, leveled, and all my utilities were set up. (And I was watching for her, so I would have noticed her… I assumed she would want me to pay her, after all.)
As I was hooking up the last hose, I looked up and saw Lemon Face poking around my trailer, nosily inspecting my hoses and other hookups. It was kind of rude but I thought maybe I was just being overly sensitive. Some of these old folks kind of assume I don’t know what I’m doing until they look things over and can’t find a mistake. So I brushed off my discomfort and went over to talk to her. This is the exchange we had:
“Well, I’m not going to make you move your trailer because you’re already all set up, but technically you’re in the wrong spot.”
“Okay,” I said. I don’t really know what else I was supposed to say to that. Why was she talking to me if she wasn’t going to make me move it?
There was awkward silence while Snoopy Lemon Face continued poking around my trailer. She looked so trollish that I couldn’t help but wonder if she thought I might have some convenient children stashed under there for her dinner, but I tried very hard not to be uncharitable. After all, maybe she was mildly autistic. Still, I didn’t have the time for it (since my relative in distress was waiting for me to call back after I settled up with the manager), so I just started doing my last once-over and ignored her.
“Well, you know, you’re really supposed to be over here,” she said in an abrupt tone, pointing to the gravel that, as previously mentioned, had been almost indistinguishable from the broken and grass-covered concrete slab.
“I’m sorry,” I offered, trying to figure out exactly what she wanted from me.
“I’m really going to need you to hook up your trailer and move everything over.”
I groaned inwardly, but made a great effort to stay as polite as possible. Had she really been so busy that she couldn’t have mentioned that earlier? “Is it really a big deal?” I asked, hoping she would go back to her previous promise to not make me move.
“Well, it really needs to be moved. It will look better.”
“Fine. Okay, can you tell me where exactly it needs to be, then?”
“Over there.” She pointed vaguely, but the place she pointed didn’t really make sense with regards to where the utilities were located. It looked like the place she pointed would have put my trailer directly on top of the sewer hookup. Surely that couldn’t be correct.
“I’m sorry, I must be misunderstanding. That doesn’t look like I’ll be able to hook up if I move there. Where are you wanting me to move?”
“Of course you can hook up. You need to move here.” She pointed at the same place. “And you need to do it right now.”
“Okay, I’m sorry, but I’m just not getting it,” I said. ”I can’t move it if you aren’t clear about where you want it.”
“Well, I need you to move it,” she repeated, unhelpfully.
“Right. Well, you need to explain exactly what the problem is, though. I’m not going to move it five times and just pray that I accidentally hit the spot you want me to be in,” I finally said, getting a little frustrated at this point.
“You’ll move it if I tell you to move it!” The anger came out of left field for me. It’s not every day that you encounter someone who thinks they can yell at you and then expect you to pay them $800 for the privilege (the cost of rent + utilities for the time I planned to stay there).
“Um… Excuse me.” I was so taken aback that I didn’t know what to say, but I tried to keep my cool. Surely I was misunderstanding something. “I am willing to move it, I’m just saying that you need to be more specific than ‘over there’.”
“Oh…” At first, she seemed a little mollified, and I relaxed slightly. For a moment, I thought perhaps she was having a bad day and caught herself snapping. It happens. We’ve all been there, and I was willing to let it go.
Then she explained, in a supercilious, snotty tone, “The owner is very particular. He wants everything to be lined up evenly so it will look nice, and so you need to be lined up right here.” She moved and held up her arms so that I could see what she was talking about.
As it turned out, she was asking me to move my trailer all of two feet to the right. And not so that it could be lined up with the other trailers, but so that it could be lined up with the gravel that couldn’t even be seen from a few feet away.
To be clear, my trailer would be the last spot from the street, so I wasn’t crowding anyone or taking up an extra spot. In fact, with me parked that way, there was room for yet another trailer, as long as they didn’t need an electric hookup!
“Seriously?” I asked doubtfully. “You’re telling me that you want me to unhook everything, unlevel the trailer, hook it back up to the van, pull it out of the spot and pull back in, then hook everything up again…. just to move the trailer two feet to the right?”
“Yes. You have to move it.” Her sour face looked more sour than ever, but at that point, I was pretty much done being patient with her. Normally, I’d have been more than happy to oblige. I’m a pretty easygoing person. If she’d have been polite to me even once since my arrival, I’d have probably bent over backwards just so she’d get to have her little power trip and leave me alone, but I’m not going to pay rent for a 100 square foot slab of broken concrete in the middle of the ghetto (rent that is comparable to a decent one-bedroom apartment in this area), just so that I can have a sour-faced old woman poke around my trailer and bitch at me over trivialities.
“Look, I don’t really understand why this is an issue,” I said. I had already resolved that if she made me hook my trailer up again, it wouldn’t be to move it two feet to the right… It would be to move it out of there. “It looks the same as everything else here, and two feet isn’t going to make a difference.”
“It will just look nicer,” she insisted.
I wanted to laugh. Instead, I looked around at the giant piles of dirt and construction equipment… The dirty run down trailers, each surrounded by its own personal redneck hoard of random objects… The roads pitted with potholes… The utility poles that looked like they might fall apart at any moment… The sadly broken and leaning ‘privacy’ fence that they were so very proud of on their website… And I spoke the truth. “Listen, I don’t think anything I do is going to make this place look less trashy. And if this is the way you treat paying customers, I’m not going to stay here.”
She reared back as though I had just called her favorite child ‘retarded’, gave an enraged huff, and snapped, “Well, if that’s the way you feel, then go.”
It was like one of the Kitchen Nightmares owners decided to get into the RV park business.
The icing on the cake was when, after walking about 20 feet away, she turned around to call back, “I’m telling the owner everything you said!” One might think she was trying to make amends somehow, but the tone she used said otherwise. It was a tattle-tale, aggressive tone, as though she expected me to somehow be worried about that…
Never mind that I was ready to pay $800 for the privilege of parking there for two months. Never mind that I never bitch about noisy or annoying neighbors, never call the manager unreasonably early or late, never make any noise to speak of myself, never throw trash on the ground or leave trashy looking things lying around outside my trailer. Never mind that I always pay on time or early, and only come home to eat and sleep…
Never mind that I happen to be a customer with a blog who has no qualms about writing my experiences for the world to see…. Good or bad.
As you can imagine, I was terrified.
The truth is, Old Lemon Face probably did me a favor. Unlike some businesses, she had the courtesy to show her true colors BEFORE she got my money, so at least I still have the option to go to another park!
My final recommendation: Don’t walk away from David RV Court. Run.
Whoa! What kind of welcome do you call that?