Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bus Blog 6: Concentrate

While the tar was hardening on the bus floor, I was offered and accepted a job out of town.  The money was good but the job limited my ability to work on the bus as I was only in town 2 days a week.  That meant I spent Saturdays with the family and Sundays working on the bus, which in theory was possible as long as I was focused.

Taking a break from anything is hard, sometimes even a brief pause can destroy any hope of serious progress.   When we work on things fully there is a flow, there is a vocabulary to it, we think and understand in a context specific to our activities.  It can be damned hard to get going again.
I had been happily scratching dimensions and drawings on a pad of paper, imagining the project, the structure, access points and insulation.  For once I was alone, and wanted to stay that way.  I didn't answer.
"Helllooo in there," the voice repeated.
 I said nothing.
I hesistated, "Uh, hello?"
"Hi, looks like you've got a bus on your hands."
A figure leaned into the doorway at the front, he had a beer in his hand and wore a pair of flip-flops, sunglasses and a tropical print speedo.  A gold chain sat in the suggestion of hair on his chest.  He was painfully tan, the colors red and brown were having territorial conflicts across his body.
"Saw this baby parked here earlier and just came to have a look.  Heard you working couple weekends ago..."  He sipped his beer, "...just came to have a look and see what you're up to."
"Work,"  I didn't have to be a prick about it, "Just figuring out what goes where and how much."
"What for?  What's this all about anyway?"
"We're converting this bus into an RV.  Lot of work to do."  Trying to look busy, I picked-up a tape measure and began measuring the distance between some arbitrary points on the floor.
"I'll say, lot of work to turn this puppy into a RV."  He pulled down his glasses and leaned in the front door, placing his right foot on the first step... unselfconsciously, "Lot of work... Looks like you got a good start..."
"Yup", I said while writing something down and drawing a completely meaningless line.
"So what's the next step here?  You gonna insulate it?"  He patted the door frame.
This continued for a while until he seemed satisfied with my answers and wandered off, saying something about another beer.
It took me ten minutes to remember where I was work-wise, twenty minutes and I was able to start making more meaningful lines on my notepad.  The first order of business was the floor.  I planned to raise it with a series of 2x2 joists, insulate between, vapor-barrier, then seal it up with a ply sub-floor.  This would lower my heat loss in the winter, heat gain in summer and help further deaden any sounds or vibrations while giving me a reliable surface on which to build the various structures within.
Lines began to cross my layout sketch.
"So what eees this?"  An aged, Slavic accent asked from behind.  I turned.

It was of course Sunday and the genuinely curious neighbors made their way over, one by one, poking their heads in the bus and asking questions until satisfied.  The one thing they all agreed on was that I had a lot of work ahead of me.  But I knew that.  I knew it was a lot of work, and I knew that if left alone, I could actually get it done.  But, what do you say, "Yes, I know this giant yellow bus is now in your neighborhood and you're curious, but leave me alone?"  This was their neighborhood and they had a right to be nosy (though nosy in a speedo is pushing it).  I was in their domain and if I made nice now, I may even get some help later, who knows?  Some days nothing gets done, that's life.
 "Screw it," I thought, "I'll stop and talk."