Nov 9, 2013

Swings of Outrageous Fortune (Misfortune?)

IMG_5215 Two nights in a place that was so incredibly comfortable that it was nearly impossible to leave and from there . . . 1%’er-ville. Thanks to my brother, Burk, we’re parked in his driveway in the middle of one of Springfield, MO’s 1% hangouts for the night. This is an odd switch from the past few days. Burk took us to lunch at his country club (the housing complex is designed around a central golf course) and generously offered to take us to a wine-tasting event Saturday. If you know me at all, you know that wine tasting at a country club would be about as much fun as running my hands through the rear sprocket of my WR with the bike idling in 1st gear so that the “fun” could be had for as long as possible. If we go, I might follow it up with exactly that experiment for a comparison.

I had all of that misery I can stand when I was in medical devices--wining and dining with the worst “doctors” (pill and device pushers) in human history; cardiologists—and I would rather not do that again, ever. (Seriously, I compare modern US cardiologists to the hacks and butchers the Civil War soldiers suffered. We used to call the majority of returned devices “Porsche payments,” since they were clearly unnecessary and/or poorly programmed and implanted. Cardiologists are overwhelmingly anti-ACA because they see preventative health care as the end of their gravy train. They could give a shit about patient health or positive outcomes. Respecting a cardiologist is like admiring a bank robber. There is some, or even a lot, of skill involved, but the occupational ethics are right up there with sharks, snakes, hyenas, and Dick Cheney. Yeah, I know. This rant probably belongs in the Rat’s Eye, but if you don’t know who I am by now you might as well be exposed to the filthy underbelly of this dirty old hippy so you can move on to higher ground.) I have to wonder if there was some sort of confluence-thing going on, since a British friend sent me a link to a terrific article comparing life in the consumerism US to life as an ex-pat in England; “US Expat Describes The Best And Worst Things About England.” The contrast between the world this article describes and the everything-money-can-buy lifestyle we’re seeing in Springfield was painfully embarrassing. One of my favorite muckraking reporter’s recent articles about the lifestyle, the personal lifestyle, of the filthy rich--in this case, Steven Cohen—is a stark reminder of how little pleasure money in giant piles provides. Payback is a bitch and that is the only evidence I occasionally find that the universe has a mind.

IMG_5214 After a week of rain and slogging through a muddy entrance-way I sort of hoped to luck into an open moment at the Springfield Camper World’s installation schedule and get a small awning for the Rialta. The moment was there, but the country’s largest RV business is “not a stocking facility.” In other words, none of Camper World’s outlets carry inventory on anything other than they Chinese “camping equipment” Wal-Mart stocks. Even tires have to be ordered a week and a half in advance. Good thing I have a backup set in the garage, in case I need to have the fairly special tires our RV needs in a relative hurry.

I’ve meant to take this picture, more than once, but failed to get it done for no reason other than my general incapacity as a field reporter. When our little Rialta is parked next to a “real RV,” it always amazes me that people are brave enough to drive these rolling houses. I can’t get the Rialta into a parallel parking space, but without the bike trailer it will fit in a typical grocery store parking lot space (or two) and it drives at least as easily as my father-in-law’s big Mercury.

I’m becoming more adept at getting the bike off and on the trailer efficiently and Robbye (Elvy, to most of her friends) is slightly less pissed off about the trailer hassle, now that having the bike has provided dinner and sightseeing ventures a few times. We need to get back into the countryside. Having written this bit has convinced me that the wine tasting event would put me over the top. Thanks for listening. Now, go listen to Jim Jefferies talk about the high price of “confidence.”

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Thomas. Your writing always entertains, informs, and touches my soul. You're a gift to us. Keep up the inspired writing. Randy Fujishin

Trobairitz said...

Okay, that video was full of so much awesome. He tells it like it is and so do you and it is appreciated.

Your rig looks small compared to the brontosaurus beside it. What surprises me with those mammoth rigs is that the owners do not take any special training to drive one. We get special training for our motorcycles (itty bitty in comparison) but they don't feel they need special training.

Well, I guess it is that confidence thing again.

Andy Mckenzie said...

A lot of the people who drive those massive vehicles DO take training courses. Some of the better dealerships insist on it before they'll let you drive away, and so do a few of the rental agencies.

Of course, the better dealerships and agencies are a lot more expensive, so the "so what if it sucks, it was CHEAP!" crowd aren't getting that benefit. As much as I hate efforts to legislate sanity, I kind of feel like anyone getting on the road in any sort of powered vehicle (probably not bicycles, but anything with a motor) ought to be required to take a good training course first.