Thursday, June 28, 2012

WWCD: What Would Campers Do? Part 2

You need to read yesterday's post first. I'll wait right here. 

We decided to help. Clad in our pajamas, carrying only a flashlight, we set off in the direction of the trouble. It was by then about 4:30 AM.

We arrive on the scene, which is at a private residence between the campground and the road. The Engineer turns the flashlight on, shining it directly at the scene, as if to show that cops have arrived. A blonde woman appears, sees us, and at first she's angry, “What are you doing here?”

We say, “We heard you scream for help, so we came to help.” She collapses on me, in tears, and starts to explain the situation. “I want to leave, they won't let me, they've taken my keys.” She swears she hasn't had a a cocktail in two hours and is fine. I'm thinking to myself, “All evidence to the contrary, ma'am.”

Pretty soon another woman joins us. Let's call her “the wife”. She's somehow even drunker and she's alternating between, “I love you, how sweet of you to help!” to me and The Engineer, to screaming at her friend, “We're just trying to help you! You shouldn't drive!” I try to reason with them and offer a solution. You've tried reasoning with drunks, right? Fairly pointless. The Blonde can come sleep in our car (it's a 12 passenger van) and in the morning, we will give her the keys and she can leave. No takers.

Of course The Engineer, who is a reasonable man, realizes there is no reasoning with drunks (of any gender) and has taken the time to assess the situation while I've been trying to get “the story” from “the wife” and “the blonde”. Suddenly no one wants to talk, because out comes “the son”. He's all of maybe 24, scrawny, and you guessed it, drunk. He is full of crap and claims to own all the property surrounding “this house” and and “over there”, and “over there too”, and we have 5 minutes to leave his property. He starts counting down backwards from 4:59, 4:58 and staggers back to the house. I'm not paying much attention to that, because I have “the blonde” still in my face asking for help. However, she's switched to, “Why didn't anyone come help me, I've been honking this horn for two hours?” Um, yes, and once you screamed “help” we came. That doesn't seem to register with her. “Society sucks.” It sure does, ma'am. It sure does.

The Engineer says to “the wife”, “You have two choices here: give me the keys and we'll take her to our place or I'll just call the police and they can straighten this out.”
The blonde: “Yes! I want to press kidnapping charges!”
The wife: “No, I just got out of prison last week!”

Now here comes “the son” with a big stick. We don't bother to listen to how far he's gotten in his countdown, The Engineer just takes my hand and says, “We're getting off your property now and we're calling the police.”

On our walk back to the campground, we meet another man who has come to help. We join forces and head for the campground host, who surely must have some sort of communication capabilities. How could he effectively administer his hosting duties if he couldn't summon professional help if needed? You'd think so, right?

He has no communication system, but we do learn that there's an emergency call box a mile down the road, which is a far better solution than driving down the canyon until we find reception (probably about a 45 minute jaunt). Our new companion volunteers to wait at the “T” that send the cars either to the campground, or to “dueling banjo country”, and to show the cops where this whole fun incident is taking place. By the way, as we're walking back to our campsite, we're hearing more car-horn, more yelling. Sigh.

We find the call box. Have you ever used one? It has one button, which dials 911, and then after two minutes, hangs up. We had to call back four times.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe stops by our campsite to get a brief, um, briefing, and heads off to meet his partner who has already approached the property.

Joe, the sheriff, and former marine, stops back by our place after having assessed the situation. He says, “We're not doing anything now because they're all too drunk to talk to, but I'm going back around 2:00 this afternoon and will have a talk with them then. As he leaves, he adds, “Next time, your first action is 911. Never approach anyone on private property, especially in a situation this volatile.” The Engineer can't help but defend our actions with, “I delivered pizza for many years. I've seen it all. I wasn't worried.” Joe smiles and says, “Oh, so you're a combat veteran. That makes sense.”

What would you have done? And at what point? Is it weird that no one else except the three of us were concerned when a woman was screaming for help?   

P.S Still on vacation.  Thanks for your comments.  I'm really interested in how you would have handled this situation.  I promise to respond to all comments when I return on Monday.


Brian Miller said...

hope the vacay is going well....

and he is right def smart to call 911...that could have gotten way scary...

J. Kwiatkowski-Schuler said...

Until I had kids, I would have gone. But since my kids will need me to feed and clothe them for several more years, I would head for a working phone and try to describe what was happening and where the best way that I could.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Going to the call box was the best solution. (Forgot you said there was no phone reception.) My wife wouldn't have been with me though as I wouldn't put her in any danger.
Like you said, there's no reasoning with drunks.

Andrea said...

I think your strategy was A decent one to assess how eminent any danger may or may not have been. I might've lost my mind sooner with the honking and gone to the campground ambassador!

Nicole said...

The way that you and The Engineer handled the situation is understandable. I mean, for one thing, that horn noise is a huge nuisance when people are trying to sleep and secondly, someone was screaming for help, so like any sane, compassionate and upstanding citizen would two attempted to offer help, as requested.

In a situation like that, I think I probably would have contacted the Campsite host about the noise and calls for help, so that he could contact the police or at least know what's going on. If he didn't contact the police, I would then call the cops but I probably wouldn't go to the scene or private property or whatever.

What's more disturbing IS the fact that you, The Engineer and your 3rd wheel companion were the ONLY three people out there who were concerned about someone calling for help. "The blonde" is lucky that the three of you were concerned enough to find out what the heck was going on and to try to diffuse the situation by offering a solution that works for everyone involved (the drunks) and those inadvertently affected by the ruckus (you, The Engineer and the companion guy).

That very thing right there makes me skeptical about camping or spending any time in the boonies. Sheesh, what gives? Are the people out there so used to calls for help that they've become desensitized to it?

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The Costello Family said...

Hey, what's with the "dueling banjo" comment? We're in Loveland, not camping in Boulder County. :-p

My dh would have investigated and upon seeing a drunk woman, mad at not getting her keys while she's drunk, but not in danger of death or other tragedy, left them and just called 911 - or headed to the call box.

Zebsmom said...

First of all I am glad I didn't read part one until today because the suspence would have been hard to take.

I too would have got involved, I am like that by fault, is suppose. I have been known to put my nose into situations where after it's all over I am wondering what I was thinking and counting my own blessings that I wasn't hurt in the process.

I think what you did was the right thing, and yes it is a bit scary to think only 3 people cared enough to show up to a womans scream.

Arlee Bird said...

That is one crazy story. What would I have done. Well, first of all I wouldn't have been camping--those days are over for me. But if I had been there, I guess I would have contacted the person in charge of the campground to call for help. I don't think I'd have put myself in a risky situation, especially once I discovered that it was a bunch of drunks bickering among themselves.
Hope you had a great time in the wilderness.

Tossing It Out

JoJo said...

Wow, never a dull moment eh? Nothing like an alcohol fueled domestic disturbance.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Oh tricky. I think the call for help would have got me, and I'd have reacted at that point. But I might have lurked for a moment to see what was happening. I'm quite big on not rushing into danger.