Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Grouchy Tent Guy Saga

I've been holding off on this story for a bit because I've been trying to figure out the best way to present it. The actual experience was aggravating and then satisfyingly hilarious. Had it been a singular incident, there would be no story here, but it's the continuance that makes it so blog-worthy. I hope it comes out remotely as entertaining as it was for those of us who were there.

Rewind this trip back to day one where we board a boat in Bellingham. Up on the upper aft deck, my friends Mary and Lauree are setting up a tent where they'll be sleeping for the next few nights. Their tent is surrounded by numerous other tents, and all of these "campers" are securing their tents with duct tape so that they don't blow away. As the evening progresses, the tent city becomes quite dense, and there are tents all around Mary and Lauree's little plot, but that's what makes this so much fun.

Two "doors" down from Mary and Lauree's little plot, a guy and his teenage kid pitch a tent, but fail to secure it with duct tape, or anything else for that matter. After getting all settled in, these two toss all of their belongings in to the tent and take off to look about the ship (or so I'm guessing). About this time we finally push off and head out on our journey. One of the first things everyone notices is how the sole unsecured tent is bouncing all about and trying very hard to fly right off the boat. We were not the only folks who noticed this, but we were the only ones who really decided to take action. Approaching the tent, we caught it in flight and decided we needed to take some drastic measures to ensure this guy's stuff didn't end up in the water. While Scott, the guy in the tent between Mary & Lauree and this genius, went off to try and find the guy, Nikki and I used the ropes normally used to secure the tent to the ground to tie it to the tent behind it (we'd seen them come in and set up together, so we assumed they were buddies) and to the railing. Once the tent was relatively secure, Scott comes back with the guy and we proceed to explain the problem. Instead of being thankful, he was right out rude. In his words "that tent's not going anywhere!" Nikki explained to him that we caught the tent in the air and at that point decided to take action to ensure it didn't completely fly away. He was rude again to her and so we all just left (personally I was just cold and didn't care much about what may or may not happen after this). While this gave us a story to tell, I certainly didn't think there'd be any more to this saga, but oh was I wrong.

A couple of hours later I went down to the restaurant to get some dinner. Mary and Lauree joined me, and we got a nice table right in front of the windows looking over the middle aft deck. This deck also had room for tents, and numerous people set up there as well. I perused the menu and ordered up some grilled chicken pasta and chatted with Mary and Lauree. Round about the time they brought out the bread and butter, Mary noticed that Grouchy Tent Guy had packed up his stuff and set up camp down on the lower deck. Once again, nothing securing said tent to the deck so it's flappin' in the wind. He set up in the corner, but then picked up his tent and plopped it right in the middle of the deck and walked off. As it did before, the tent was bopping all around, trying to take flight and bouncing off of other people's tents. The other folks around the area were apparently getting pretty annoyed. We, of course, were laughing hysterically as were the couple at the table next to us. People are grabbing the tent and plopping it strategically away from their tents, and when it would bob back over, they'd do it again. Mary, amid her fits of laughter, decides to go down to the deck and tell them about Grouchy Tent Guy and our experiences with him on the upper deck. Round about this time, before Mary can even get down there, the group decides to take the poles down, to stop the tent from bouncing around and ensure that it won't fly away.

As Lauree, the couple at the next table, and I look on - Mary trots right down on deck and proceeds to let the entire group know about our earlier experiences with Grouchy Tent Guy. She points us out, and we all wave, and she continues to chat with them and make friends. After a bit she comes back up to dinner. We notice that this experience is bonding the lower deck folks and they've brought their chairs in a circle to chat.
Our dinner came and it started to get dark outside. It seemed that Grouchy Tent Guy got a heads up that his tent had once again been tampered with, and he came storming on deck, beer in hand (his kid had one as well). He proceeded to inspect the tent, look over at the circle of other campers (who were blatantly ignoring him), and started to take the tent apart. He piled everything in the middle and flung the entire load up over his back like Santa Claus, grabbing his beer on the way out. By this point we were rolling. I wish it would've been light out because the picture of this would've come out much better and I could've posted it.
One lady in our group also recounted a story of Grouchy Tent Guy at the pursers desk trying to get a room to stay in. The purser had to inform him they were all booked up and he was quite unhappy about this as she recalled. Oh well, serves him right for being such a jackass to folks who were simply trying to help him out.

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