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Old 10-14-2009, 07:37 PM   #1
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Aluminauts

I have read the dueling threads on the WBCCI. While in the shower this morning, I thought a bit about an Airstream "club." This was a bit odd foe me because I'm not a prototypical "joiner." On the other hand, it wasn't bad to do some pre-caffeine mental gymnastics. First, I think, one needs a catchy name. I picked Aluminauts... though this is shamelessly stealing the name of the 1964 aluminum submarine. Of course, who could resist being considered one of the Aluminatti? Or the Aluminaughty? Jason and the Aluminauts?

Ah, so if we have a name... we need a charter. How about: "This is a club for aluminum travel trailer folks; All else is commentary." Oh, and rules. I gave this one a great deal of thought:

1. Be Nice
2. When in doubt, see Rule 1.

What's the real appeal of, you know, the other club? It's simple, folks... red numbers. There is an inherent human attraction to a number, particularly if the number is higher (or lower) than some other person's number. But are numbers really the answer? Is the number 37 simply destined to harbor secret desires to be 36? No, I think the answer is more creative... words... in green.... Oh, sure, twitter and giggle, but imagine the unadulterated joy of distilling the essence of a aluminum dream into a single word... which would follow the rules of Scrabble. There are thousands of words... in multiple languages. Sure, a number is nifty, but a word, my friends, is a doorway to conversations, ideas, outrage, laughter... all of the best things about camping with friends.

So, what else? Not much. No dues. Members are encouraged but not required to support the Airforums. No membership requirements. No dress codes. Oh, but one concept I think should be added at the risk of creating Structure which leads inevitably to Bureaucracy and shortly thereafter, Leisure Clothing. Every gathering should feature a Random Act of Kindness. Listen... camping is good. Helping is better. Maybe it's polishing someone's trailer. Maybe it's collecting canned goods to help a needy family or a shelter. And every good deed should be recorded in the digital Green Book, without the names of any of the participants. We should do good because it is right... not because it will be noticed.

Well, now that I have reserved a spot in the particular circle of Hell for those who dream up such silly notions, time to get some work done around here.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:43 PM   #2
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I like your rules of conduct. I think I'll memorize them!
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:27 PM   #3
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Too many rules.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:57 PM   #4
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The Forum is the other club. It does have more rules than 2 though.

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Old 10-15-2009, 12:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
1. Be Nice
2. When in doubt, see Rule 1.
That pretty much rules out most Airforums members, doesn't it?
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:49 AM   #6
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Another camping group that I belong to, does a service project whenever they camp together. Once it was replacing an air conditioner on another member's trailer. Another time it was painting a building for the campground owner. The owner supplied the paint and we supplied the labor. This led to a great relationship with the campground owner. He wanted us to return, year after year. The goodwill that can be generated by kind works or deeds "goes" a long way.
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:54 AM   #7
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What else do you think up in the shower?
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:05 AM   #8
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I like that idea Silverhobby. Mike and I were just talking two nights ago about rallies and we should do something that's a group event other than just pot-lucks and trailer tours. It seems that if someone needs help, everyone is always ready to jump in, so to actually plan something at the rally is very good food for thought! Follows rule #1 - be nice.



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Old 10-15-2009, 10:11 AM   #9
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I like the idea of a service project, every rally should have one, of some kind. Paying it forward.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:02 PM   #10
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I'm from the school of thought that "doing good" is part of "having fun." Sure, I like relaxing with a frosty barley pop and a campfire. The feeling is even better having done something meaningful for someone else... at least for me.

I agree with Gene... but maybe my idea is really a "non-club club." The Airforums is very nice... but there is an administrator. There are moderators. There are rules and those rules are enforced "for the good of the community." And not to be pejorative in any way... but there are other considerations here. Please note that nothing in my original idea suggested officers, leaders, moderators or grand poobahs. Perhaps there is a larger question here... is it possible for a social group to coalesce around an idea without being calcified in bureaucracy? Tough one....

As for other ideas I have the shower, there are dozens every week. It's a contemplative time, I think. I'll try to jot down my Airstream related random thoughts one of these days.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:28 PM   #11
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People that like to be in control often end up running organizations because people who are not controlling don't run for office and are uninterested in that kind of job. Then the latter start complaining about the control freaks who are ruining the organization. Maybe the non-controlling people take over (if the control freaks haven't changed the rules to make that difficult) and then they find out they have to run things. They really would rather not be in control and the control freaks start complaining everything is chaotic and maybe they take control again. It's kind of a twist on the Hegelian Dialectic.

I've always wondered how anarchists know how and where to meet?

Hampstead, maybe you can use a washable pen to write those thoughts on the shower tile and quickly turn off the water.

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Old 10-15-2009, 01:24 PM   #12
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I haven't had enough beer to discuss thesis-antithesis-synthesis or the dour evolution of Marx' writing after 1848.

People with highly defined internal structure do not necessarily need or like strict and rule-based environments. In the converse, people with weak internal structures do not necessarily enjoy chaotic situations. I found this in the military. Some people love uniforms. They love rank insignia. They love medals. The accoutrement tells them who they are; it tells others who they are and it often gives them a sense of "self." Take a lifelong soldier out of uniform, some feel "lost."

When it comes to organizations, things tend to run more smoothly with folks who follow rules. These organziations can be very efficient and effective... but they are not necessarily the best environments for creativity and innovation (or feeling fulfilled). My personal observation is that Airstream owners tend to cluster around two poles... for some the Airstream is like a uniform, complete with red-numbered Medal of Honor. For others, it is an anti-uniform... an iconoclastic break from "box" conformity. There isn't a right or wrong, but there are two highly differentiated personalities which probably don't work well in one organization. This is old stuff, Gene... American flag versus freak flag.

Sure, the Airforums is a digital watering hole... and it may lead to some great rallies. If I ever get the Overlander on the road, I'll provide a full report. What I miss, however, is that sense of doing something for others. Sure, there's tremendous acts of generosity that routinely occur... but I'm not sure its the ethos here.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:19 PM   #13
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Hamp', a very learned series of posts (and I'm not being sarcastic at all, I mean it). Those with a "highly defined internal structure" or in another bit of jargonese are self actualized well integrated personalities, or maybe in another era's language, inner directed. Some such people can do ok within other structures, but often choose to go elsewhere and look for their own type. The other extreme would be outer directed or unintegrated and in need of some Gestalt therapy, but as you say, find comfort in rules and sameness. This can lead to fascism, petty tyrants and may be at the extreme OCD.

So between the extremes of those who like chaos or anarchy (not the same at all, but easier to lump together) and those who like rigid structures, are most of us, some self actualized, some not. Some are bipolar or have multiple personalities, or be borderline, or just be pretty neurotic and may feel ok on both extremes, or near extremes. As many types as there are people.

When an organization goes over to an extreme, it will usually wither because there aren't enough people to keep it going. When the requirement of membership is owning an Airstream, you have an even smaller sample, spread over a very large area, so the group of extremists is very small. And then add in the aging process, and it's hard to see how such an organization can survive. But some units have chosen to ignore the international leadership, so they may survive.

I don't think Airstream owners are around one pole or the other—the poles tend to be more vocal, but most people probably don't care or think the debate is a waste of time and perhaps wish there was a middle of the road somewhat organized Airstream club. They may not be ready for the newness of a Forum as a club. Increasingly they are not involved in WBCCI, many never heard of the Forum, or are only marginally involved in it.

Helping others is a good thing and we do a lot of that. Some posts on the Forum provide an outlet for that.

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Old 10-15-2009, 05:38 PM   #14
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maybe one of these for the shower would help?

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