Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are novice RV owners. We bought a large fifth wheel and my husband does all the driving. I do not care to drive it at all. My job is to help him back it into camping sites. Last week I was backing him in when a gentleman from an adjoining site came over and started giving my husband hand signals and kind of taking over my duties. I thought it was rude. He didn’t even ask me if we needed help. It was as if he was dismissing me. I felt rejected and let him park my husband into the fairly easy access site. After it was all over my husband seemed a little ticked. He didn’t say much to the neighbor, but later went ballistic with me. He said he never wanted a stranger to back him in again. It was my job and I should have let the guy know that we didn’t need his help. So we were both upset with the neighbor, but it seems we took it out on each other. Does that make any sense?
--Back me up in Big Bear Lake
Dear Big Bear:
This is not uncommon. It happens all the time. Most people are just trying to be helpful and neighborly and you should have a reaction all rehearsed ahead of time. Let them know in a nice way that you do this all the time and that you do not want any help. If they persist than you can become a bit more firm until they get the message. Helpful neighbors have nothing invested in your rig. If anyone is going to direct it into over-hanging branches, park posts or rocks, it should be you. If your husband felt that strongly, he should have exited the truck, straightened out the situation and continued parking the rig. It can be a little uncomfortable when you know someone is trying to help, but most people will understand if they are told you would rather work together. If they don’t take the hint, ignore them and continue to park your own rig. Let them stand there and flail their arms as long as your husband is only taking signals from you. Not everyone is comfortable backing up an RV and will appreciate all the help they can get even if it is a stranger with nothing invested. It’s all about communication, politeness, and being neighborly in the campground community.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink