“Do you have a man with you?” the guy on the phone asked Tracey. Without the hum of the air-con I could hear his every word. Unlike me, though, he couldn’t see the reaction to his question on my wife’s face.
“You want to know…,” said Tracey slowly, deliberately, quietly, a combatant expression leaping playfully onto her face, “…if I have a man with me?”
The atmosphere in the bus was suddenly electric: which was odd given why she was on the phone in the first place.
“Tracey,” I’d called out an hour earlier from my chair in front of my computer screen: a screen which had just disappeared before my very eyes, along with the work I was typing up. “The power’s out.”
“Oh, thank god you’re here,” Tracey said, her voice wafting over from the darkest to my left. “I was wondering why I’m suddenly standing in the dark. My first thought, obviously, was I’d gone blind.”
She was making jokes but I figured that had a shelf life of less than a minute if I didn’t get the power back on quickly because the temperature outside was single digits and heading steadily towards an overnight low of one solitary degree.
“I’ll go,” I said, pointlessly.
Because I always go when the water’s blocked or power trips or any of that.
Not that I’d dare complain because Tracey might bring up that she always does the folding, and I wouldn’t want her bringing up the idea of swapping jobs.
But unlike the usual situation where we trip out because someone used the toaster while the kettle was boiling (I’m staring dead at you Tracey) it wasn’t just us this time. As evidenced by the person I met at our junction box, the lady on the other side of us on the phone to her husband asking where she needed to look to turn her bus back on and another two people walking around with torches and dressing gowns looking lost because everyone else in the park seemed to be doing toasty fine.
Our whole row of campers was out. Dammit.
Nearly an hour later I returned to the bus, cold and with nothing to show for my absence.
The other hubbies and I had done laps of the loo block and marched row upon row of caravans in search of a power box. Nothing. We’d also not managed to find an after hours number to call. There was one for emergency services which I was considering, but nothing for a camp manager.
I dreaded telling my wife, which is why I did an extra lap than the others, but eventually thought I’d better get it over with while I still had toes enough to hold thongs on my feet. As evidenced by the fact there was snow around the next day, I am not exaggerating about how cold it was.
“Couldn’t find a thing,” I said as I walked up our steps. “We might just have to leave the car and trailer and move the bus to another spot.”
“It’s okay,” said Tracey to me, indicating her phone which was up to her ear.
While I’d been doing laps with a headlight she’d decided to take matters into her own hands and Google the EPIC webpage, which had an after-hours numbers listed in much the same way the signs by the loos didn’t.
The guy answered. Tracey explained the situation. In his eagerness to help the guy seemed to forget we don’t live in the fifties anymore.
“My man,” Tracey went on menacingly, “isn’t very good with instructions.” She made an apologetic face at me and I brushed it off – she had a point, plus there was no way I was taking heat for this bloke. My core body temperature was a chilly glare off hypothermia. And anyway, I’m just glad she didn’t say I wasn’t very good with my hands – there are times Tracey thinks she’s being groped by an octopus! “Do you want to tell me what I need to do to get power back on?”
“Sure,” he said. I could her him chuckling from where I stood, and what he said next made me realise he knew exactly what he was saying and was loving the reaction. “First thing you’ll have to do is go into the men’s bathroom and open the green door…”
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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