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February 2005 Archives

February 6, 2005

Mooseless in Maine

Just as we gain more confidence, (after all, it’s been several weeks without a disaster), our bus battery dies and we are stuck for days without hope of a 24 volt jump. Under cover of darkness, we consider illegally draining our gray water into the New England countryside before it overflows our tanks. Would we stoop so low? The Midnight Dump of Tim’s bus rear does have a certain ring...

Maine is so exquisite, even I am enticed by the out of doors and the promise of seeing a moose, although it seems we are the only tourists there who never do. We have a view of the ocean from our campsite and while the development of my bus phobia had surprised us both, we were even more shocked when Maine seemed to bring on a touch of agorophilia, first manifested when I suggest a (small) hike through Acadia National Park. Still, I am a bit put off by just how darn nice people are in this state. When someone smiles at you in New York, it could be benign, it could be evil or it could be just plain crazy, with about an equal likelihood of any of the three. We New Yorkers have therefore mastered the art of looking through people, as if the entire City consists of urban ghosts. To do this looks a bit creepy here, so I force myself to smile back. It’s actually not that bad. But, these Mainers are not only genuinely friendly, they also like to do things: After my computer crashes, the tech offers to deliver it to me (over an hour drive) after his repairs take longer than expected, the AAA mechanic comes back on his own after being unable to supply us with enough voltage, just to see if the spare battery Tim bought at Sears is doing the trick. I'm losing my mind in a state full of Tims.

February 10, 2005

C.U. Later

We visit my alma mater, Cornell University in Upstate New York. During my four years there, I had never appreciated the Bell Tower, visible throughout much of the campus. It had seemed like just another measure of how overwhelmed I was in my pre-med studies, chiming in hourly to tell me how hopelessly late I was for class. Even though I had passed it every day, I had never taken time to make it to the top. So, now, I climbed the 161 steps to the chimes masters’ room, where, since 1868, this unique instrument (which at 21 bells is one of the largest and most frequently played chimes in the world) is given voice by students who compete annually for the honor of grabbing and stomping on a console of wooden levers with their hands and feet. The effect cannot help but bring to mind the title for a would-be B movie: Attack of the Mensa Ninja Warriors. After finally making it to the top, I could understand why, between the climbing and the chiming, one chimes master received physical education credit for her efforts.

She should try it sometime in Chanel, quilted, pebble grain loafers.

February 21, 2005

Fire in the Hole

We realized long before we left Boulder that the guy who had installed all our custom electronics -- weeks late -- had serious issues with time management. It was only after we had been living in the bus, however, that we discovered he had even more serious issues with custom electronics. By the time we hit Maryland, we had gone nearly four months without TV, an unimaginable hardship at the start of our journey. Now, we no longer really cared, but still, our bus' honor required that she have all working parts. So, we hired someone else and purged her of all the original guy's work, (the back up cameras, security system, internet, etc that he had installed also weren't working properly). When we finally had TV again, we realized how much it is like crack. We stared at the screen, open-mouthed, as mindless commercials played. I felt my IQ drop a few points, but am powerless to tear myself away.

“Look!” Tim marveled. “They got movin’ images and everything!” I tried to rise, but was rooted to the reclining loveseat. I cursed its plush leather pillows, specifically designed to maximize viewing pleasure. Then, I realized I am still holding the remote. If I can just get my index finger to move.

“Must… stop… picture… machine… ” I manage to press the “off” button. The spell broken, we turn toward each other.

“That was one bad relapse, man,” I lament. Tim agrees. In a direct contradiction to everything our training has taught us about addiction, we vow to severely ration TV and find that it’s not so difficult when we're setting the whirlwind pace of 49 states in 12 months.

As if to help our resolve, the motor on the TV lowering device soon burns out due to the original guy’s poor design. About a week after we had it replaced, I notice a wisp of smoke coming from the ceiling. Tim stood directly under it.

“Did you light a match?” I ask. It’s not as stupid a question of a nonsmoker as one would think, for only a few days before, seeing a tick on Miles, Tim had done just that. Now, though, he just said no and resumed his tinkering with the dashboard. The wisp grew less wispy and more fanned out. I must have had the same perplexed expression on my face as the first caveman who had ever achieved…

“FIRE!” I screamed. Okay, so I’ve been known to exaggerate. I guess that’s why Tim shot me an incredulous look. But, when he followed my gaze, he saw it, too. He sprang into action, pushing the button that would lower the TV. Nothing happened. As the smoke grew, I started opening windows.

“Where’s the fire extinguisher?” I coughed. Although I had never seen it, I rightly assumed Project Nerd would have installed one. Tim ran to the kitchen, grabbed it from a cabinet and as he leapt to the front of the bus, pulled the safety ring. He let ‘er rip… right into his chest. Perhaps, without his usual superhero accoutrement of safety goggles, he couldn’t see where he was aiming the thing. He quickly righted it, just as a flame lapped out overhead.

It was over in a few seconds. (The clean up took hours.) Then, Tim manually lowered the TV, a laborious process involving a flexible extension on his electric drill which he painstakingly explained made it work like a Dremel tool. (I suppose I should say here what a Dremel tool is, but I don’t know because I was really not in the mood to listen.) Miraculously, there was no damage, just the burned wire. I didn’t even care about that. All I could think of was how fortunate we were that this happened while we were home. Strangely, I didn’t even contemplate the potential damage to the bus. Every thing is replaceable, I realized. Except, if we’d been out, our pets would have been toast.

What is happening to me? “Everything is replaceable” is hardly a thought becoming a Princess, but it was my only thought. While I adore my pets, after a lifetime of rampant and yes, even resplendent consumerism, I would have expected to have given some of my belongings -- certainly at least my shoes -- a second thought. But, I really didn’t care. Everything is replaceable. Well, at least I hadn’t gone so completely insane as to think the occasion didn’t call for a commemorative martini. And, a lovely shade of orangey-red it was. I called this newest nectar, Fire in the Hole. It was a toss up between naming it that or Dumb Luck, which I realized is what we, two Yuppies with no experience with busing, epitomized. Stay tuned for our latest disaster...

Nick and Me

Nick Arrojo. You know he's a celebrity hair stylist when he has
someone else hold my hair back for him.

While in New York City, in a nod to my former life, I get a last minute, hot-off-the-five-month-wait-list-because-I-pull-rank-so-well (Did I mention I’m the travel writer for Bus Conversions Magazine?) appointment with a hairdresser from my favorite makeover show, leaving me with short hair for the first time since I was in single digits. And, no, I did not have anything sucked, tucked or implanted while I was at it. He wasn't from Extreme Makeover, he was from What Not To Wear. And, after recently shopping in an Arkansas Wal-mart and feeling overdressed in my pink velour track suit, I already know what not to wear very well, thank you.

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About February 2005

This page contains all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in February 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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