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Conversational Extremes at the Quartzsite Gab-fest

The trick is to avoid eye contact. When walking on the sidewalk of a large city, people learn that you must avert your eyes from winos, junkies, and panhandlers. Quartzsite is not a big city, but the same principle holds. If you slip up -- even momentarily -- at the laundromat, the old boy will notice what license plates your vehicle has, and start in with whar-ya-frum, and then move on to story after story about what happened to him, there, 38 years ago.

At another time, in a crowded bakery, a line of annoyed people were held up by an old boy cracking "jokes" with the bakery worker. When he wasn't succeeding well enough at holding her up, he would look around and try to spot some new victim who made eye contact or seemed slightly amused at his bullshit. That person would soon regret it.

I tell ya... there are worse things than death; like out-living your usefulness, and becoming one of these old men in Quartzsite.

It is easy to enjoy the solar critical mass around Quartzsite. The stores are quite good. Only the solar panels themselves are over-priced. Most of the ancillary equipment is readily available and reasonably priced. Batteries are sold at loss-leader prices.

Ah yes, ancillary equipment. The standard universe of electrical connectors and crimping tools from auto parts and hardware stores tops out at 10 gauge electrical wire. But I like to use fatter 8 gauge wire for my battery charging. Surprisingly the hardware store in Q had 8 gauge ring terminals. But how do you crimp them?

At one of the solar stores, a young man told me that I could crimp these bigger ring terminals myself, with a hammer and a flat blade screwdriver (and a big rock laying on the desert). I didn't believe him. But back at camp I tried it, and it worked well.

What a pleasure it was to hear something from another human being that isn't drivel, small talk, stories about the past, jokes, and popularity-seeking. There are times, such as the examples above, when I feel I am too harsh and demanding with other people; and when they disappoint, too surly and grouchy.

The example with the young man at the solar store was such a relief to me! In fact, I am easy to please with practical tips or non-trite general information. I like being pleased by other people's information, when they actually have some!


Steve said…
Very good points about not making eye contact ... good post ... funny as usual.
Thanks, Steve. I DO try to keep a sense of humor about the situation in Quartzsite. But it has its serious side, too.
People say our society is becoming more and more narcissistic - I wouldn't know, personally, but I was in Quartzite once and as soon as I get it all written up, I'll post it, but it's gonna take awhile because it was quite the experience and was very similar to yours but better and more interesting and much more clever and illustrates how funny and smart I am and it was quite the experience and revolved around some vendor wanting too much for a piece of salt from the Salton Sea and how I cleverly talked him down except I didn't realize I was actually offering him more than full price because I got myself all confused and it was quite an experience, I can tell you that, and...well, I'll just have to come on down there and tell it to you in person, as it's quite the story and was quite the experience and I'm sure you're gonna want to hear it, though it's gonna take awhile... (j/k)
Sondra said…
Sorry to point out the obvious, but we will all be old someday if We are lucky! It's hard to be at the top of your game when you're near the end of your life, and if you listen closely you may even learn something. I am always keeping Karma in the back of my mind and how it evens things out...the young are here to learn from the old, not the other way around. On the pan handling side, we get pan handled sitting in our living rooms no eye contact necessary, and on the web, "the Donate" button, and people begging us to Shop Amazon from their Site...and some whist they declare they do NOT want any contact let alone eye behooves me.
You're a kind-hearted and generous person, exactly the type these old geezers love. :) It's my belief that most of the people who think nothing of telling you month-long stories whether you're interested or not are basically narcissists and old age has little to do with it, except to loosen the few inhibitions they may have had.
Ed said…
I agree with Spotted Dog Ranch. Those old geezers that go on-n-on have been doing that their entire life. It has nothing to do with age.

"...the young are here to learn from the old, not the other way around."
That would be true IF the old person has anything to teach. There are a LOT of old people that could learn something from those that are younger.
So, you remember the time when you were in ...
I'm surprised that people think that age has nothing to do with it. The older an old buzzard gets, the more of his life is in the past, and the less future there is. And what future there is, is dismal.
XXXXX said…
Oh, KB, I'm feeling a bit disappointed in you with that comment. One really does need to get out of their own little life, as if that is all that matters. Old age is a wonderful time to give back in whatever way one enjoys. It is truly sad if someone cannot find that way and all they are left to do is babble on about their past, or babble on about other people doing the same. What a waste of an entire life experience.
George, I knew someone was going to reprimand me for that comment. But actually it is a positive comment: only when a person is brutally honest about old age, and is willing to look into the abyss , will they feel fired up enough to escape the conventional traps that eat up a person's later middle age.

Of course, this statement is about warning the young. Once you are old, you might as well make the best of it.