The Man Who Mistook His RV for a Hat

I think I’m missing part of my brain.

You know how I know this? Because I winterized my RV. Correction. I tried to winterize my RV. If not for the help of my friend Ted, I’m pretty sure said RV would have been a non-functioning hulk of fiberglass and metal come next spring. There would be fluids oozing from places not intended by the manufacturer.

I don’t get RVs. Ted tried to talk me through it. He was endlessly patient. But he might as well have been speaking Bosnian. Like I said – whatever part of the brain is responsible for knowing how RV’s work – I’m pretty sure I’m missing it.

“You drained the low level line, right?”

Blank stare.

“We should check your batteries. Are they connected in a series or parallel?”

Blanker stare.

“Are they deep cycle 6 volts?”

Eyelid starts to twitch.

“I think the solenoid might be gone in your hot water heater. You didn’t turn it on when it was empty, did you?”

I swear, at this point, all I heard was, “Sviđa mi se tvoja plava rukavice”

If you’re not an RVer, bless you. Supposedly, the “R” in “RV” stands for “recreational”. You know, “recreational” as in “having fun”. This is not the case. RVs are the work of the devil.

“Do you have a Phillips No. 3?”

Sheer panic,

“Is that the pointy one, with the little cross?”

To give Ted full credit, I swear that his eyes didn’t roll. He just looked away and appeared to be choking on something. I went to get the butter knife. It’s what I always use when I need a screwdriver.

There are parts of my life in which I’m actually pretty competent. There are even areas where I would call myself an expert. I started a successful business and managed to sell it for a tidy profit. My house hasn’t been repossessed. I’ve mostly succeeded in raising two lovely daughters (okay, some – most – of the credit for that goes to my wife).

My point is, I’m not a total idiot. At least, not most of the time. But here, in this particular case, I was squarely in the “stupid” category. And this wasn’t run of the mill stupid. This was a special kind of stupid. To put it in terms even I’d understand, this was akin to trying to go to a website without turning your computer on, or using a potato for a mouse.

And it’s not just things related to RVs. It’s pretty much anything involving tools, or sports, or automobile parts, or home repair. Whatever part of the brain controls such things, I’m missing it. You want to walk through an online user experience? I’m your guy. You want to replace that blinking porch light or talk Monday Night Football? Look elsewhere, my friend. Life will be easier for both of us.

My theory is that the brain is a bucket. It can only hold so much. My brain happens to hold things like lyrics to Broadway musicals, arcane facts about World War II, Canadiana trivia and past winners of Academy Awards. There’s no room left for things like solenoids and 6-volt batteries.

But here’s the thing about those things. At some point in your life, at least as a male living in a traditional Western society, you have to know that stuff. You’ll be called on it. And when you are, you will shed the skin of the 54 year old moderately successful human you are and will once again become the mewling pimply-faced 13 year old man-child that looked at your dad helplessly when he asked you to go get the torque wrench.

“The what?”

“Never mind, I’ll get the damned thing myself!”

P.S. The title of this week’s column is for Oliver Sacks, who left us late this summer. So long Oliver. I’ll miss your brilliance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s