Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The Wednesday Schlep

I was right: even though I've refrained from commenting on the social and political lunacies of our time—at least for the last couple of months I've held off—they continue at about their usual pace.

I have been, on the other hand, exercising four days a week at our local pool-fitness center and working on our camper van. I haven't played handy-person in...well, years. It's taken me a while to get used to it. I'm still not too good, but at least I know when to get help.

We bought the van last fall; an '83 Chevy half-ton van. A conversion van, which in those days meant hokey wood-paneling, lots of shag carpet, a couch across the back that let down into a bed big enough for comfortable screwing—all it needed was one of those multi-mirrored disco lights mounted in the ceiling. Thank god it didn't have one of those. We built a four-foot wide bed over the couch. I want to remove the couch completely and free up a bunch of storage space. Beth doesn't want me to. We bought the van from her Aunt Lydia and Lydia doesn't want me to, either. Women often have their ways with me.

I've been replacing the bayonet-based interior lights with super-duper l.e.d.s from China. This has required me re-learning how to do 12-volt wiring. And soldering. And improvising—I didn't have to re-learn how to improvise, to be honest. It's something I have a black belt in. The wiring is slow, but it works. Each lamp is done a little faster, a little more slicker. The bayonet-bulbs, which are like the ones in an automobile's back-up lights, are bright, but they draw quite a bit of electricity off the "house battery" I installed. The l.e.d.s require maybe one-fourth as much electricity. This means we can have lights for several days. The only other use for the electrical system is to power a laptop so I can write and, if the mood strikes us, we can watch DVDs. However...

...Why do we go camping? Well, one reason is to get out in nature. That's like psychotherapy. A campfire, woodsmoke, simple food, evening silences, calm slow mornings...That's healthy. Life gets reduced to the essentials: food, fire, water. This is wonderfully calming to my mind. Maybe a little reading, but lots of staring off, studying the rocks, the creeks, all that stuff. It's great.

So that's been one of my preoccupations. I can think over each little project for hours and hours. I can research information on the Web. And, finally, I can actually go do it.What a nice feeling.

Sidebar. At the pool today, several of us were relaxing in the hot tub. We agreed on how nice it would be to see Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld on trial in The Hague, for war crimes. I don't think it'll happen, because ultimately politicians protect each other. They're sort of like Marines. They might duke it out among themselves, but when the shit hits the fan, they band together. Like Watergate. It was a matter of tidying up a mess rather than actually making anybody pay for the crimes committed. That's probably all we can hope for this time around.

Later, 'gator.

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