Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Talkback Tuesday: It's a Bus Thing

One of the most common questions strangers ask us is, "Can I come inside?" Now, I have a very specific definition of stranger. Suppose we're in a campground and you're set up near us in your tent or RV. You've walked by a couple of times, said "Good Morning." We've exchanged a few sentences about how pretty the area is and you've asked a few general questions about Odyssey. At this point, you are not a stranger. You're a neighbor, and you'll probably get a tour if you ask (unless you're a jerk in some other way, or smoking at the time.)

Now suppose you've just walked up to us in a public place, like a gas station, and commented on something that we obviously have in common. Just yesterday, a very nice couple noticed I was wearing a Red Cross t-shirt (I really need to do laundry.) She flashed her own Red Cross ID badge at me and we talked for 10 minutes about that shared experience. She asked if we take the bus to Red Cross deployments, I told her about the DOVES, and it was very pleasant. At this point, she wasn't a stranger, but a fellow volunteer, and I would have gladly shown her around.

Several times we have been approached by folks who surprised us by exclaiming, "You're Sean and Louise and we recognized Odyssey! We read your blog!" Of course you aren't strangers, you're fans. Fans can come inside if they want; not all of them have asked to.

But if we're parking at WalMart or the grocery store, and you drive up next to us, make the universal "roll down your window" motion to Sean, and the first thing out of your mouth is, "I want to see the inside of this thing!" well, then, the answer is NO. You're a stranger, pure and simple. You're not even a polite stranger, who would at least begin with "Hello" or "My name is Fred; how are you?"

Confidential to the fifteen year old girl who knocked on our door in San Jose and asked to come inside for a tour: WE'RE strangers! Possibly serial killers! Heck, didn't your momma teach you not to get into a stranger's vehicle?!? We said no to protect you.

After three years of hearing this question weekly, I thought this was unique to Odyssey. I was relieved to find this discussion on a bus conversion bulletin board. Seems strangers just can't resist buses of any kind. I'm glad to know we're not alone.

Fellow bus-nuts, do you have a similar experience? Share it in the comments!


  1. Oh goodie, I checked in to see if you did it...blogged today, and you did. I was chuckling at your descriptions of strangers and nonstrangers. I don't think it would have been appropriate for this post but I sure hope you'll include some of your terrific videos from time to time.
    Thanks for posting!

  2. Louise, good to see your posting. We pull a 30 ft stacker trailer behind our rig and that's what draws em for us. Sometimes you wonder if folks are even aware how rude they come across, when as you pull in to a site and are trying to get set up, they are gawking and asking questions and on and on and on. I've been thinking of putting a bulletin on the side of the trailer, car, boat, motorcycle and stuff inside, yes its long, I got it here didnt I. Oh well, so goes life, LOL.

  3. @happy trails: I made a video of our recent trip to Lake Tahoe, but at 10 minutes it is too long to upload and post. It was made as a personal memento for our nieces and it took me about 10 hours! It did turn out very nice, though.

    @spyderman: That trailer must look like a big, unopened present and folks just HAVE to know what's inside!

    We have a sheet that we put in the window that answers common questions, but as you know, it doesn't help when they swarm around you as you're just pulling in! Maybe I should print up some extras and hand them out, or drop them from an airplane as we enter a city.

    It is especially bad when we are loading or unloading the motorcycles. Maneuvering is tricky in that tight space and there is a lot of that special type of communication that married couples use when they are tense (read: yelling). Not a great time to chat with strangers...

  4. We're not busnuts but we do have a 15pass van (Ford E350) that we tow our TT with. Down here on the Eastern (Caribbean side) of the Yucatan peninsula, this is also the van of the colective drivers. We get flagged down DAILY by folks who think we're public transportation. Sometimes I actually pick them up and give them a freebie! :)


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!