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Apr 05 2006

Aluminum Fever

Today, in lieu of blaming, I spent the day lurking on an Airstream list. The list is run by a woman named Hunter, who I liked immediately because she a) digs horses and b) she traded in her husband for an Airstream and c) she installed a Gaggenau range-top in her galley. She rolls full-time with two dogs and two cats in a 25-foot Classic Excella and appends every post with the motto “‘Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘… holy shit…what a ride!’ Mavis Leyrer – age 83″ (ellipses hers. Of course).

The topics on the list are mostly “have you ever been down Route 8 in Pimpleville, KY?”, and what sort of caulk to use in your leaky shower, and the best trailer hitch, and general bereavement over the fact that Ford isn’t making a diesel Excursion anymore, and what to do if mice or condensation infest your Airstream. I have learned much. I was especially edified to discover that even the online Airstream community has trolls. “What kind of moron,” you ask, “would troll a friggin trailer list?”

The answer will surprise no one: godbags!

One of which tried to sneak in an off-topic bible verse about, of all things, leprosy.

To which sideways-skidding Hunter sensibly replied, “no Bible verses on the list.”

This caused an uproar. Hot-button concepts such as “First Amendment” and “censorship” and “God love the USA!” were invoked. Epithets were bandied. Bible-philiac feathers were ruffled. But Hunter stood firm.

“The bible topic,” she announced, “is over.” Because religion and politics “can spiral out of control.”

Tell me about it, Hunter. Tell me about it.

“WOW!!!” wrote disgruntled commenter Dave, a big fan of both Bible verses on RV message boards and exclamation points. “That’s sound like the words of a control freak to me. Well sometime when group owners end up with the bulk of the members they tend to start thinking that there God them self”

Furthermore, because after all it exists within the patriarchal paradigm, I found that there is some perceived caste system or hierarchy amongst RVers. Dave’s old ball-and-chain Barbara, who got bent out of shape in wifely solidarity, was now advised not to let her Airstream door hit her in the “….” (this Airstream group is so polite they voluntarily elide their own insults).

Retorted the indignant Barbara: “Sorry don’t have a Airtream yet to hit me in the ass…The more I meet Airstreamers…the more I think I don’t one. some of you guys and girls think your gods gift or somthing. A bit stuffy for me. I camp with people in pop-ups that are more fun…We whent to one Airstream event and Dave told me if we do infact get a Airstream we won’t be camping with Airstreamers. Way to stuffy.”

She alludes to people who live in aluminum boxes. What a world.

Thanks to reader Scott for turning me on to Hunter the Airstream aficionada

33 comments

  1. Pony

    Dont let Barbara go. Ask hr if she whants to meat you’re SBDM folks. Or whatever.

  2. Kate

    So it seems that there is a caste system amongst RVers? The patriarchy has to get into everything.

    Yup, we men gots to come in and start sortin’ out the wimen from the men, because you know what’ll happen when them women’s start gettin’ ta thinkin they’s all the same as a man. purty soon i’ll be havin to git ma beer maself an all.

    “C’mon Hunnee bunch, we done need nunna them alluminium thangs, we gots our AMF pop up to set up at tha flea markets an for the boy’s scout campouts, an all that yer daddy lef’ us when he died, he wouldna wanted us ta sell it anyhow. Ain’t no sense in dealin’ with them godless womin that ain’t got no men aroun’..livin’ in some kinda redikulus tin can thang.”

    “Hunnee…Hunnee. Aw shit where’d she go? Hunnee?…”

    The svelt alluminum bounced off the multiple spectrums of light from the sunset beyond. Orange, red and purple, like a signal from some far away place. Her eyes were fixed on it. Her mind could only focus on the door that swung open slowly from the side, a woman stood on the stoop, smiling calmly, detached. Hunnee was drawn toward her, possessed. The cherry red ’69 Ford Ranger F-250, rumbled softly while another woman sat at the wheel, also smiling into the field where the lost woman stumbled toward them.

    He never found Hunnee. All the police ever did find was a pair of the high-heel shoes she was wearing that day along with the dress she was wearing, strewn in the dust along the dirt road. Next to the items were a set of tire tracks in the dirt, a set belived to belong to a full-sized pick-up truck and possibly a trailer with a tandem axle.

    People said the sun did seem to reflect awfully bright that day.

  3. Vibrating Liz

    A few years ago I was writing a novel (later aborted) that revolved around an Airstream, and as part of my research I had a brief little fling with this really cool guy who does professional Airstream restoration. I learned a helluva lot from him about the whole crazy cult of Airstream fanatics and all I can say is, honey DON’T drink the Kool-Ade. They’re wack.

    But in spite of that, I think I just might end up marrying Hunter.

  4. No Blood for Hubris

    Eee-ew.

  5. Chris Clarke

    A few years ago I was writing a novel (later aborted) that revolved around an Airstream, and as part of my research I had a brief little fling

    Perfessional writing career, here I come!

  6. anne

    I’m with you, Liz. I love this woman! She had me with her donkey story.

  7. scratchy888

    hahaha. Airstream… What the hell? Ha!

    You Merkcans and you’re (sic) trailer trash!

  8. Frumious B

    some perceived caste system or hierarchy

    Like there is a subset of human society which DOESN’T have a caste system or hierarchy?

  9. sybil

    Waal, why go looking at the comments regarding an Airstream? I mean, with all due respect, I didn’t see much point, but what the heck, check it out. You folk rock! I can’t even drink a cuppa and read at the same time: Pony and Kate almost had me splattering my computer ’cause I can’t drink and laugh at the same time. cheap thrills? you betcha.

  10. norbizness

    Yet another community whose existence I need added to my weekly memory-wipe.

  11. cypress

    now, those are [i]rules[/i]

    i’ve always thought airstreams were beautiful. i know someone who’s airstream i have not yet seen, but hear tell that it is gorgeously renovated both within and without. and they pull like a dream people say.

    i’m looking forward to the travelogue.

    and the lunches!

  12. Burrow Klown

    Bwhahahahahahahha!!! I needed that, thanks Twisty.

    So wait, there are people who don’t like me and judge me simply me b/c I like Airstreams? *sa-weet* Scare the whackos off before I even need to talk to them.

  13. Kat

    Ah, godbags, always a source of amusement.

  14. winna

    You have to admit, it is perfectly reasonable that if you had a shiny futuristic looking Airstream you would look down on people with popup campers. Popup campers are ugly and undoubtly leak, while Airstreams have lines reminiscent of zeppellins and if they leak you just weld a patch on. The superiority is plain!

  15. Sara

    Oh, thank you for this, Twisty. I can’t wait ’til you begin your own silver domed adventures and start posting from the road.

    I also love all the comments, though I have to say I am shocked — SHOCKED — to hear that Vibrating Liz once aborted her own novel. Oh, Liz, how could you? Don’t you know there are dozens of people out there just dying to be writers and have novels of their own?

  16. stingray

    Godbag Airstreamers?! Too many crany crazy flavors to keep up.
    I thank you, Twisty for the morning coffee I spit on myself while reading indignant Barbara’s indignant porr grmamer, while quoting her husband of the stuffiness from the other clearly, not-so-godbaggy Airstreamers attitudes.

    That Hunter though, what’re the chances she’s rollin’ single?

  17. Hattie

    Gosh, this all makes me feel like going and bombing Eye-raq! This is not exactly *Travels with Charley.*

  18. finnsmotel

    The vintage ad photo is wondrous.

    I used to always get pissed at those kinds of ads when I was a kid because it was obvious that the fish had been dead a long time and wasn’t actually being caught at that moment.

    How long do you think that bass baked in the sun before they got that shot?

    Pee Ueew

  19. Nymphalidae

    Is proper grammar and spelling stuffy?

  20. Hissy Cat

    I am shocked — SHOCKED — to hear that Vibrating Liz once aborted her own novel. Oh, Liz, how could you? Don’t you know there are dozens of people out there just dying to be writers and have novels of their own?
    Hahahahaha. Good one.

  21. alphabitch

    Sara – I have a whole pile of gestating novels if you know anyone who wants to adopt one.

    I know that some people think writing novels is a choice, or that a writer can simply “choose” to finish the thing (or not), but it’s just not like that at all.

    I can’t believe this keeps happening to me. I’m really not cut out to be a novelist, but I do write from time to time. I mean, don’t we all? It’s a basic human need. I’m not promiscuous about it. I swear I’m careful, but sometimes I start writing a letter or a poem or maybe a short story and I guess I just get a little too drunk, or I have too much time on my hands — and almost before I know it, I’ve conceived a plot, and some characters, and I wake up all hungover the next day and realize oh shit, it’s another goddamn novel.

    It’s happened more than once, and I just can’t bring myself to abort another one, so I’ve been keeping them in a box on the back porch. I mean, maybe someday I’ll settle down and have time to give them the attention they deserve, but it’s just that I have so many writing projects already — and I love them all, really I do — but I can’t afford another unfinished novel at this time in my life.

    And I can’t bear to put another one in the shredder. I still have nightmares. They’d be better off in a more organized household with a more disciplined schedule.

  22. Hattie

    How many of us are there with unborn, aborted, stillborn novels? Mine made it to six chapters before I decreed its death.

  23. Ms Kate

    Sounds like some of these god-fearin’ folk ain’t never heard of The Wardroom Rules.

    Ya see, when I was in the United States Navy, there were three topics we were NEVER to discuss in the Ward Room, where officers take their meals and recreation. This practice was intended to prevent people living in tight quarters from throttling each other.

    What were those three off-limits topics?

    Politics

    Sex/Romance/Relationships/Members of the opposite sex, etc.

    and RELIGION!

    In other words, Hunter is simply carrying on in a grand ‘merkin military tradition.

  24. Pinko Punko

    It has always been my belief, nay, received knowledge, that there can be no more a defining characteristic of any person or persons that their Airstreamitude. I think Ms. Barbara hit the nail on the head. Once one has been confined, nay, surrounded by Airstream, veritably to have air streamed about themselves while conveyed, they cannot but be altered. Of course, sadly, all rules of Patriarchy operate in this almost separate universe.

  25. Pinko Punko

    PS. Hitting the Blame button kind of makes my day. It’s like hitting the thingy at the carnival with the sledghammer, at least until the words appear, or the comment only bounces up to “wimpy”.

  26. The Fat Lady Sings

    You know – you always find the coolest things! Of all the trailers out there, I’ve always thought Airstream was the best. That and they look like something out of the Jetsons. What a wonderful way to explore the world – from the inside of a spaceship on wheels!

  27. auntsnow

    I don’t know so much about Airstreams, but this lady sounds cool.

    There is a resort called The Sou’wester (apostrophe is part of the name) in Seaview, Washington, which is at the southern end of the Long Beach Peninsula, just a short walk through dunes and beach grass from the beach, where you can stay overnight. You can choose from small cabins….rooms in an old 1890′s lodge….or your very own vintage travel trailer, all unique, of many shapes and sizes and capacities, furnished eclectically. My family has stayed there several times, in cabins and in trailers. We love the place!!! I can see how living in trailers is a fun thing. The compactness is very appealing.

    However, I don’t advise the trailers in the winter — Washington on the coast is damn cold!!

  28. KH

    I’ll adopt those novels! Of course, if they’re nonsensical because you were smoking CRACK at the time, forget it. Also, I’ll only adopt those novels which were typed on white paper; if you used any other color paper, then I really don’t have a place for them. I’m sure they’d be better off with their own kind.

    I plan to dedicate all of my adopted novels to [the] God[(tote)bag].

  29. julie beth

    don’t forget to check out the diy network’s series on classic airstream restoration. it’s embarrassingly addictive. who knew that the installation of a new septic system and climate control would be so fascinating? actually, it’s when they’re installing the new cork flooring and interior aluminum sheet wall covering that it really starts to get exciting!

    plus, kevin tetz. he’s just weird. but i like him.

  30. winna

    I have twelve chapters but then realised a book about people attempting to liberate their small country from the control of two empires via guerilla warfare probably wouldn’t sell too well in today’s climate. Oh well.

  31. finnsmotel

    “I know that some people think writing novels is a choice, or that a writer can simply “choose” to finish the thing (or not), but it’s just not like that at all.”

    Every other day or so, I get about a million seeds of an idea. I usually just flush ‘em.

  32. kathy a

    alphabitch: “I swear I’m careful, but sometimes I start writing a letter or a poem or maybe a short story and I guess I just get a little too drunk, or I have too much time on my hands — and almost before I know it, I’ve conceived a plot, and some characters, and I wake up all hungover the next day and realize oh shit, it’s another goddamn novel.” oh, this is lovely! i kinda wish that hemmingway had such insight, since he wrote the same damned novel 4,000 times. [ok, he didn't write quite so many. but i had to read them all at one swoop, and it seemed like that many.]

    ms. kate — the wardroom rules also work well for family get-togethers, and blogs. who knew the navy had such wisdom to offer? our tax dollars do sometimes work, kinda.

    more airstream blogging! and bert’s artworks in progress!! and food!!! when you feel like it.

  33. Cast Iron Balcony

    Oh! What a coincidence.

    In the 90s I was forever lurking in REC.EQ – the US horse riding usenet group.

    I haven’t owned a horse since 1975, and I really miss them. I don’t really get the opportunity to ride either. I grew to love many of the denizens of REC.EQ and remember Hunter well.

    Some of those US horse people were pretty bitchy, though – I remember some exchanges worthy of RWBDdom, although such things hadn’t been heard of yet.

    So what kind of person lurks on a horsey usenet group?… Sad and tragic!

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