I was becoming inured to tourists drowning their brand new $50,000 motor vehicles in our neighborhood river. So perhaps it was a good thing that the young woman showed up at the campground and asked about how to get to her friend's remote location higher up in the mountains.
There was only an hour of daylight left, the usual time for tourists to get organized enough to do foolish things. She had a text message, but no map. She was driving a low clearance, passenger car. I didn't quite know the place her message named, but I was suspicious. Back in my trailer, I looked up the place on one of my smartphone apps. It was as I feared.
Did she have much of a chance to get there? There wouldn't be any car repair places open tomorrow, Sunday. She had already lost cellphone reception. Had her friend made it to that location because they had a high clearance car?
A tourist can be so foolish and get away with it because -- and only because -- they have cellphone reception and a credit card. I'll bet that young woman didn't know how to change a tire, and that she was not equipped with warm clothing, a tow rope, a can of expanding tire sealant, or jumper cables.
Her notions of safety and normalcy were totally dependent on that delicate tendril of communication to a cell tower, and she had already lost that.
Or was I just being an elderly worry-wart? Would somebody else come to her aid? Young women do have advantages when it comes to getting assistance from a stranger.
I admit to feeling a foolish male urge to chase after her and help her out of the mess she was working so hard to get in to. But I pushed the urge away: this summer has taught me not to expect too much from people who need to be rescued. In fact she would probably resent my interference.
So all I could do was sigh in resignation, and think of an image from the beginning of "The Wizard of Oz," when Dorothy is running away from home, and she encounters the kind-hearted old carnival man. He cons her into returning home. As she leaves, he looks up at an approaching storm, and says, "Poor kid. I hope she makes it."