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Author Topic: The growing trend of isolation  (Read 5493 times)
Merlin
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« on: June 24, 2006, 08:36:39 AM »

Have you noticed that things are not as they once were?  When we were children, we likely had friends … very close friends, in the neighborhood.  Now the national trend is for people to have far fewer close friends and many times we don’t know the names of our next door neighbors.

What prompted me to reflect on this sad social trend is a recent news article.  I found the “facts” presented are very representative of my personal experiences here in our little Midwest town or 39,000 which is a bedroom community of a mega-city.  There was a time when we actually knew the names of neighbors down the block.  Now we don’t know the names of the neighbors on the other side of our shrubbery fence.  That’s just the way it is.

The national trend is for busy people to have fewer and fewer close friends.  Reflect on this; who do you lean on in case of emergencies?  Families are more spread out than ever before in history.  Phoning someone to help with minor problems is a quandary.

I can pontificate and ponder abstract thoughts all day, but the one that I’m thinking about lately is the feeling I get when working on our bus conversion.  Hours, days, months, are spent struggling by myself to not only understand the nuisances of bus conversion but the physical aspect at times is taxing for one person.

Here (on the bus conversion bulletin board) we can toss out questions and wrestle with problems, at least in words.  However a real sit-down and socialization with fellow busnuts is a wonderful boost to moral and energizer to the soul.  Not that I would go to a busnut rally to beg for someone to help me put up a ceiling, or trace out an electrical gremlin, but simply seeing other buses and asking “How did you do that?” could clear up many mysteries in the uphill fight to complete a bus conversion.

So here is my vote for small (or even large) busnut get-togethers like the one hosted by Dallas a while back.  Busted Knuckle is brewing a rally soon … bravo!  No need for a tailored schedule, or rules.  Just a landing spot where a few “nuts” can park with the intent to pick each other’s brains.  I realize that rallies take planning effort and precious time for the hosts.  Large rallies are even more of a headache, as well as a financial risk to the hosts.  The annual rally that once was hosted by MAK is an example.  Wish I had been far enough along to have made it to one of those.

I’m seeing a trend of smaller busnut rallies that fall under the “regional” description.  This is good.

My wife and I hope to soon have a bevy of busnuts that we can call “friends”.  Retirement in itself is an isolating event, but consider retiring from a community where we are unknown to our neighbors.  Wow … it is lonely out here!  We joined Escapees RV Club so that we can eventually return to the old days of having friends.  You know … the days before video games, internet, and the barrage of ominous world news.

Sitting around a campfire with fellow RVers is our goal.   During our hectic working years we had other goals.  I guess we got into the high pressure corporate rut along with everyone else and never realized that someday we would need to end the chase for the brass ring.  So many people who were in the lead of that rat race are now only found under a granite marker.  I won’t bore everyone (at least not now) with the defining moment where my wife and I decided that the race was over, and we would purchase a bus to convert, then take off for full-time RVing.  Possibly it is the same story most of you have, but with small variations.

I may have buried the thread of my original thought for this “short” note.  Forgive me … I’m retired, and don’t give a sh*t.

Merlin

PS: Here is the URL for the study on the trend of isolation in the US
   
http://tinyurl.com/h6h54
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2006, 09:22:51 AM »

Hey Merlin I know exactly what you mean. We have neighbors that have lived right next door to us for the last ten years and don't as much as wave or say hello when passing thru the yard from front to back. The friends we DO haved live so far away (in town) that they never seem to want to help unless they need something in return. With that, the reason we do it our way by oursleves, when and how we can!

If your ever down in my neck of the woods (central florida) look us up and we'll be glad to sit around a camp fire with you and yours and pass the time and chew some fat! Smiley

Ace

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JackConrad
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2006, 05:14:02 PM »

Merlin,
   Living in a rural area, where neighbors have to rely on each other to catch loose cows, help with calves, put up pole barns, etc., we still live where all your neighbors know each other.  We joke that you cannot go jogging, because everyone will stop and offer you a ride.  If our neighbor sees my wifes car in the driveway after 7:30 AM on a weekday, she will call to see if my wife is sick. When my wife was recently hospitalized, I had more food than I could eat, because several neighbors would bring me supper.  Living in the country is GREAT!!!
  George Myers lives in Ohio near Dayton. i know he goes to several bus rallies in that area. He emailed me last week for help in listing some rallies on the calendar. I have not seen them listed yet. Perhaps George will reply to this thread.
   I agree that the small regional rallies are great. What happens though that as word spreads about how much fun was had at the small rally, more and more busnuts decide to join in and the small rally becomes a large rally. i think you will find  east of the Mississippi, most rallies during the summer are in the Midwest or Northeast and the winter rallies are in the Southest.  FMCA has a listing of rallies in their magazine (but this list does not include ALL chapter rallies, only those which the chapter sent information to FMCA Magazine).
   Check the calendar for upcoming rallies
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2006, 05:42:58 PM »

Up here in the Northeast people just aren't friendly like that any more.  I rarely talk to my neighbors.  When I lived in NC, we had block parties every weekend.  Everyone knew everyone else.  Up here, I introduce myself and try to be friendly and they lock the doors, hide the women, etc.  Must be I look like an axe murderer or something.  I basically converted my bus by myself, single handed.  I'll bet in 3 years of converting, I had maybe 5 or 6 days where I called someone to come over and hold something.  Most of the time I just made a fixture or tool so I could do it myself.  I can get help if I want it, but then the help rarely shows up when they say they will.  I'd rather just do it myself.

I've also found that if you pick a hobby that everyone else likes, you'll have all sorts of friends hanging around.  Start working on the bus, and they scatter.
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2006, 09:37:57 PM »

Got the same sort of "no help" down here in North Carolina too!  Most people around here are friendly, but not one bit interested in working on a bus.  I would have thought mere curiosity would have resulted in a few helpers.  Wrongo!   I don't think most people have any hands-on skills for such things.  They really don't know $hit from shinola.   The bus building concept overwhelms them.   I've got friends that want to go ride in the bus, but won't come around when they know I'm working on the bus.  Tongue  HOWEVER, my 240 lb young'un lives right behind me, and while it requires a direct request...if I request, he'll come help.   He can be very useful with proper direction...
It amazes me these days just how little most of my friends produce...beyond working.  Some are quite gainfully employed, but once that day is over, nothing else, beyond yard work, is going to happen.  They (IMHO) waste a good chunk of their lives watching TV, and doing almost nothing of consequence.   I rather doubt they view my bus as a "consequence" either.  You get the point. 
In all fairness, I should thank my wife for the help she's given...which has been considerable at times...although when she's doing something in the bus, she's really not "helping" me,  what she's doing needs to be done...I end up "helping" her.    At least she does things that I don't want to do....like finishing wood.  She finished all the cabinet doors and most of the trim...such as there is so far.     
AM tomorrow, she's going to help me install a Pen drivers window.  All she's got to do is hold it in place so I don't push it out when trying to start a few screws.   Supposed to be nice and cool tomorrow.   The driver's window has been sitting beside the bus all week...tomorrows  the day.   Terri helped with the tedious process of installing the other 7 Pen side windows...and they were heavy.  That was a situation where she helped me.   
Anyone that starts a bus conversion thinking that their friends are going to offer tons of help...is probably deluding themselves.   This is mostly a one man show.  Unless, you got lots of $$$ and wish to share. 
Just remember, you transform an old bus to a useable condition motorhome  and actually use it, you drive it, you keep it running, you got some skills  ...maybe unappreciated, but you got some talent.   Then there's some of us that's got more skills than is healthy...Nick..Ace?  Wink
Oh well, I prattle.
GITRDONE!  JR Cool
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2006, 06:19:18 AM »

Hahaha, and I was just thinking how nice it is to be alone with the hubby at times Wink.  We've only been together 20 years, since we didn't meet until I was 26 and he was already in his 30's, so since we are surrounded by people so much, we enjoy having time for just the two of us. 

We, too, live slightly out in the country, and know some our neighbors pretty well, others just enough to wave at them when they drive by. . .and yes, if you drive by, we'll wave whether we know you or not.  One of our neighbors actually drove up and down the road looking for our other shop so he could see our other bus. . . could have called and asked, but didn't want to bother us, so he drove around in what he knew was the general location, until he spotted "TempBus" and then spent a couple hours with Larry going over it. 

I think maybe we shouldn't be that way, but we'd have plenty of help if we wanted it, we just kind of like spending some time alone and doing things our way.  Nothing drives Larry nuttier than when his Dad, whom we love dearly, tries to "Help" Larry with anything.  We know how we want things and we work very well together, and we really enjoy working on stuff like the bus. 

I think when someone starts a conversion, they should feel that working on it is a hobby in itself.  You should enjoy doing it and consider working in solitude as some type of therapy.  When I'm working on the bus, I'm not thinking about employees, customers, bills, schedule, nothing. .. I'm thinking, "Ok, now how am I going to attach this to that!"  Larry is there and if he wants to tell me somthing, he doesn't have to get in line and wait for me to be done with the phone, the employee, the payroll. . . he has my full attention any time he wants it.  If he needs a helping hand, he doesn't have to schedule around everything else I"ve got going.  Big difference. 

I think that the internet has really changed our lives in some ways that are not obvious.  Maybe we don't spend as much time with our neighbors, but that's because we can communicate with those who have more in common with us.  Admit it, do any of your neighbors or friends really want to convert a bus?  Do they even "get" it?  Most of the time, the answer is no.  They may admire it, but they wouldn't even consider doing it themselves.  But you can come online and talk to people who understand you, who share simlar expreriences, who have something in common with you.  Maybe we aren't a substitute for good friends, but we are a community of a different type. 

The other thing is that we need to always remember, we get what we give.  If you try your best to give of yourself. . . treat everyone, from the local 7-11 worker to the waitress to the Wal-mart checker with kindess and respect.  . .if you treat your family with love and respect, if you have a kind word for those you come across in life, and more importantly, if you practice patience and restraint when you feel angry or irrated, you find that people respond in kind.  When you're on the highway and someone "cuts you off", assume they didn't see you, (you know doggone well you've done it yourself),  if someone appears irritated, respond with, "Hmmm, rough day, huh?", you just don't know what could be going on in someone's life that reflects in their behavior, so assume that maybe they could use a smile right now.  We are very lucky to have a life such that we can afford to buy and convert a big toy like a bus, so many people struggle just to get by, so maybe we can "give" just a little bit extra. 

Of course, it's easy to be "deep" when you're kicked back in bed, drinking coffee, watching "CBS Sunday Morning", with your hubby laying there with his head on your lap, the kitten snuggled up against you, purring and half asleep. . . .aaaaahhhh life is good! Cheesy  Now, if I could just reach that coffee pot  Roll Eyes  . . . Christy Hicks
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2006, 08:00:52 AM »

Thanks JR, Merlin, Jack, Ross and Christy.
Some of everything that's been said has been pertinent for different situations.
I guess we all need to put OUR lives into perspective and figure out what's important to us.

I learned many years ago to never loan something you couldn't do without.
Maybe that could be modified to: never expect from people what you can't GIVE yourself.

Lots of people are interested in the bus, but feel afraid of it's size and the mammoth task at hand.
I could say I feel the same way about taking on the job of refurbishing a sugar beet mill that I had the job of doing 28 years ago.
I didn't like it, I didn't want it and I didn't care. The guy who hired me was a friend but I never could get into the job. I guess I was scared of it and it's size, (58' towers and 13,000 sq. ft.).
By mutual agreement, We parted company but stayed friends.

Having friends when and where I grew up, (Idaho Ranches and Farms), meant a lot more than being able to call on friends, because we were all working on the same goals.
The same still holds true for Rural areas today, as long as the goals are similar. It's when goals differ that you find yourself on your own. This isn't a bad thing. Would you be willing to clean out a septic tank for a friend that did it for a hobby? Yea, I know, it's easy to say yes I would, UNTIL it actually came to crawling down in the box and scraping the S**t out of the bottom. Try mentioning the term, "Monocoque" to your circle of friends. Or maybe "Detroit 2 cycle" or "DD3 brakes". those are scarey terms for someone who never heard of them.

Sorry to ramble so much, but part of me misses having friends to help when I called and other parts of me rejoice when I have gained a new skill that none of my small circle can match.

I live in an area that is totally foreign to me. I don't understand a lot of the language, the mores or the work ethic. "Friend" doesn't mean here the same as what I grew up with. A handshake "Don't mean Sh**", around here.

I guess I can't add much to this except to say that I have friends in the conversion hobby that are willing to help, if just with moral support and instructional information in my time of need. The internet has brought a lot of people together that have the same ideas and goals, kind of like my home of olden days.

Then again, you get out of friendship what you put into it.

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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2006, 11:01:31 AM »

I've recieved more help from the people on this board and BNO than from anyone locally but a huge margin...and it's the sort of help that no one arround herwe could provide anyway.  Finding manual labor is easy.  Finding someone who can help you through an air leak or brake issue is something else entirely.  The truck shops will offer up some info, but they want your service dollar, so they won't give up all the secrets.  Between everyone on this board, we've probably experienced every possible issue a bus can have and since most of us do our own repair work, we can guide a firrst timer through that same repair.

Really...I couldn't imaging converting a bus without internet access. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2006, 12:14:38 PM »

      As I mentioned earlier, we do know and help our neighbors (rarely a day goes by that my neighbor and I do not visit over the fence for 15-30 minutes). BUT, when it comes to our bus, other than an occasional helping hand to hold something during the week when my wife is at work, we prefer to do all of the wok on our bus without outside help.  This insures that everything is done to our standards (maybe higher, maybe lower, but OUR standards). Because I am used to working by myself, it can be dangerous working around me.  If I need to swing a board around, I am not used to watching out for other people.  My wife wants to put a sign on the front of my shop "WARNING This shop can be extremely hazardous to your health, Enter at your own risk.     Jack
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2006, 12:45:47 PM »

Yea I can vouch for what Jack says! He worked on my bus once and I swore I would rather have been at my regular job where I didn't work as hard! LOL

Ace
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2006, 03:22:21 PM »

 I have been so lucky, I have a lot of acquaintences but very few friends.Friends are people you can count on, acquaintences are people that want to be your friend when they want something or it is convieniant. When I started my bus in Buffalo, 2 of my friends were there for me all the time. I came to FL and stayed at Jack Conrads. You do not even have to ask Jack for help he is right there for you. His friend Jerry "Sojourner" is another one, will help anyone anytime. I try to remember to be greatful for these things, few people are so lucky..
 I liked the first bussin rally, it seems when things get bigger, people stop talking to each other.
 When I read Lukes post about a busnut dying, I thought Yep! thats me, too busy, I mean I wanted too, I was going too, I really meant too, but I was just too busy!
 I saw a bumper sticker "He who dies with the most toys wins" How sad, no wonder so many people in the world hate the US. Its really "He who dies with the most friends wins" Grin
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2006, 07:19:32 AM »

Let me jump in on this one. 

When I moved to Baltimore, I was told by many co-workers, "the people here aren't very friendly."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I have found that most people I deal with are very nice and seem to be very genuine.  Of course, I haven't asked anyone to help me work on a bus or anything. 

I believe that life is 95% outlook.  If you have a positive outlook on life, you will tend to see things for what they really are.  Here in Baltimore, I've learned that people don't speak first.  But, if you speak to them, they will almost always speak back.  The fact is, we live in a very fast paced society these days.  I come from the rural south (Mississippi).  We all knew our neighbors and they knew us because at some point, you needed each other.  Now days, people are so fiercly independent that they don't want to be a bother to others, but on the same token, they don't want to BE bothered by others.

I see this as a growing trend in our society to be more self-sufficient and it just makes me cherish my family even more.  We may not have as many close friends as we once had, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.  It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "I have a few enemies, and even fewer friends".

I blame the 24 hour a day news media.  Used to, for it to be national news, something had to be really big.  But now, every single domestic dispute, shooting, stabbing, rape, car chase, etc is put out there for the world to see.  It makes us all paranoid and afraid to go out of our homes at night.  I know some eccentric old folks that just sit around and listen to the police scanner all day.  All they ever focus on is the bad things that happen from day to day.  Same thing with chronic news watchers.  All we ever hear is someone shot someone else for some stupid reason.  It's ridiculous.

FWIW, I intend to view life from the half-full perspective and I would like to think that almost anyone on this board would be glad to help me work on a bus if I asked nicely, and had plenty of cold liquids on hand!

Jimmy
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2006, 07:33:54 AM »

I live in L.A. and it can be the most isolating-get lost in the crowd city you could ever live in.  On the other hand, there are also to numerous to name clubs, activities, events, organizations, etc that you can get involved with to put yourself out into the community.  L.A. is a huge metropolis (the biggest in square miles), but usually the events are in the smaller multiple communites that are scattered around.  I believe the way you are treated is directly related to the way you act towards others.  You make your life what it wants to be, no one else.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2006, 08:23:31 AM »

Early humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic
hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during
the summer & would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in winter. 
The two most important events in all of history were the
invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get
man to the beer. These were the foundations of modern civilization and
together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct
subgroups:
 
Liberals and Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the
beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were
invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting
for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's
how villages were formed. Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what
is known as "the Conservative movement."

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned
to live off  the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and
doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of
the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved
into women. The rest became known as 'girliemen'. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy and group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided. 

Over the years, conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass. Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard  liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule
because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and
still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo
cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors,
police officers, corporate executives, athletes, bus converters and generally
anyone who works productively. Conservatives, who own companies, hire other
conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the
producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe
Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the
liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America.
Liberals crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a
business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history:
It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to
angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative
will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this
history that it will be forwarded immediately to other "true believers".
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 10:11:52 AM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2006, 09:57:12 AM »

I knew there was a reason I liked Richard!

I believe life is NOT a spectator sport. You get out what you put in.

My mom questions why I help others when they have not helped me. Then remarks at how lucky I am to have friends to help whenever I need.

I know most of my neighbors, but like Christy said, some just don't get it. I know what I want, well at least I'll know when I see it & I don't need the hassle of having to explain 'the obvious' to someone who won't understand. And, like has been said, most neighbors would be useless as helpers.

I live in the old downtown residential area of a old small town that is growing due to the BMW plant & other things. Our neighbors occasionally host a small cook out for the neighborhood. Everyone gets to socialize & talk about useless trivia & get to know the strangers next door. It makes a HUGE difference in how you perceive others when you know them if even just a little.

YMMV
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