Despite the park being pretty empty, we had one neighbour for the weekend. Anyone who has ever gone camping will likely have experience with this type of camper. They were late teens, early twenties and had come with one purpose in mind: to get as shit-faced drunk as they could.
When I was 12 or so, my mom took my best friend and I camping for the May long weekend. Our neighbours on that camping trip were a similar group. We left that weekend with a story of a couple stolen lawnchairs that we stole right back from them at the end of the weekend. That story, though huge to a 12 year old, pales in comparison to the group we got stuck beside this weekend.
They were a friendly bunch, one of them in particular. Saturday morning, while we ate breakfast, we watched them fight with a dead battery. One of them broke off and came towards us. They needed booster cables. M had some, since he’s a well-prepared motorist and, being a friendly guy, lent them out without a qualm. They were appropriately thankful.
Saturday afternoon, they began their drinking games. I have never been a big drinker and M wouldn’t claim to be either, but we are university students. We understand drinking games, have even played a few ourselves. So we watched with amusement and dashed into our tent when it started to rain.
In between cracks of thunder, we could hear them yelling and hooting, still going at it, not slowing down at all. Even when the hail came, they were unfazed.
That night, as we were lighting the fire, the friendly one came over and asked what they should do about the ‘coons. He wanted to know if they should worry about them, if they should be afraid of them, or what. We told him to put their food in the car and to not worry about them; they’re mostly harmless.
Around midnight, we threw the rest of our wood on the fire in preparation for bed. It was the last night we were there and didn’t want to bring any home. The fire was big and warm. It wasn’t long before a figure came out of the darkness.
He leaned against a tree for a while, then came closer. I said hi. He said nothing. He took off his shoes. He sat down. He spat. For a moment, we thought he was going to throw up. Then he layed down, muttering something about his ****ing friends and the ****ing cold.
It was weird.
Fifteen minutes or so later, his friends come over, asking to borrow a flashlight. They told us they lost a camper. We pointed at said lost camper and they stammered apologies, got the guy up and lead him away.
We went to bed.
The next morning, still sound asleep, we hear, “Excuse me. Excuse me, can we borrow those booster cables again?”
We grumbled. I got up to get them since I had to get up to use the washroom anyway. It was no longer funny and I was not amused. But, that was it. They boosted their car, returned M’s cables, and left while we were in the bathrooms, leaving their campsite a mess, illegally scavenged driftwood burning in the fire pit, and a bottle of windshield washer fluid with an orange substance that looked and smelled suspiciously like kool-aid and vodka on our picnic table. (I removed it to theirs; park staff was going to have to do some work on that site anyway. Does anyone else remember a story about some people who died because they drank punch that was stored in old anti-freeze bottles?)
It turned out it was around 10:45 when they woke us up, not the 9:00 we thought it was. We were almost grateful that we didn’t waste any more of the day in bed, but that was not my preferred way of being woken up.
At least they provided a good story…