“You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here,” from thirty yards away in the dry desert air you could hear the old man muttering like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.
“You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.” He was incessant, bent over like a question mark wobbling with his cane, never yelling, just talking so we all could hear. Not exactly a welcome wagon greeting as we were setting up camp. Our entire group, Old man Birch (OMB), Georgie, R, Amelia, myself, and Dusty, Jen, and Angie who were staying in town, but drove out to visit us…we were all doing our best to just ignore the crazy man.
“You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.” Of course, Amelia took the bait and said, “Hey, you should be nice.” Something about having a kindergarten teacher chirp at him made the old nut cower a little. He shuffled to the other side of his trailer, but continued muttering and staring at us.
By now we were all on our second beers and having hors d’oeuvres. The old coot was still mumbling, but now it was becoming humorous. Three beers in, we all started mimicking him. “You’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here, you’re not welcome here.”
Crowds are to be expected on President’s Day weekend. Rockhouse Canyon Rd, aka Clark Dry Lake area of Borrego Springs is a popular boondocking spot. It used to be really wide open, but they’ve closed down a lot of the area. Still, there’s a lot of open space. Thirty yards away from your neighbor on a crowded weekend would be considered good etiquette.
The Birchs and R arrived hours before us so they could secure a spot. The old whack a doodle was being dickish even then and asked the Birchs to move their camper to the other side of R. He was afraid Birch’s dog, Diego, would attack his cat. OMB obliged and moved. I guess us rolling in with the Airstream a few hours later unhinged the guy.
As usual, we all hit the hay before 9pm, and were up before sunrise, had a relaxing morning with no sign of Mr. Happy. Mid morning, we were packing up the truck for a drive to a slot canyon hike, and still not a peep out of the grouchy old man.
Three hours later, when we returned to camp, there it was, what we all assumed was a nasty note, stuffed into R’s cup holder on his chair.