All Who Wander

17 Jun

Barbie Van

Row after shiny row of new vehicles bask like sunbathers in the hot Saturday afternoon glare. Red, blue, black, charcoal, champagne, green, windshields flash in the bright sunshine. I maneuver my Toyota Matrix down each black topped path, hoping to glimpse a blunt nosed front bearing the small circled emblem VW. I am searching for a most elusive machine. . . the VW Bus. I knew before my trek to the local dealership that I wouldn’t find a legitimate one; they aren’t made anymore and the microbus redux was canned after the prototype. But I thought maybe I’d find a van or some sort of something that might assuage this long held desire of mine for a home on wheels.

My passion for tiny places has evolved through several phases and began when I was quite young. Aside from various under table forts and cardboard doll palaces, The Barbie Country Camper came rolling my way one Christmas in orange, yellow and pink 70’s flash. I sewed little pillows and wove rugs from scrap yarn on cardboard looms for the back of it, decking the van out in hippie calico patchwork and color striped glory for Barb and her Malibu pals. That van had every convenience imaginable. And in my love for Scooby Doo, the Mystery Machine took my imagination on a magical ride to both fun and adventure. So naturally as an adult, secondary homes of the mobile kind were ever so appealing to me.

Vintage Airstreams, Scottie Trailers, and Gypsy Vardo’s held my rapt attention hour after online hour, the possibilities overwhelming and the choices like a Chinese menu. Trailer vs. Van vs. Truck. New or Old, Create it or Buy it. Every time I browsed, I returned to one machine….a VW bus. Prices for a renovated one? Astronomical. Knowledge to rebuild one from scratch? Non-Existent. Caught between desire and knowledge, I tucked the idea away into my wishful thinking box. That is, until I started wandering.

That shiny emblem would then appear in my mind along with the sound of a rattling 4 speed grind when I’d leave a venue an hour or so from home. How nice it would be to roll into my cushy bed in the bus in some safe parking lot till morning, Clar curled with me in our little mobile cubby. Then morning French press coffee and Granny’s cherry jam on toasted biscuits for the way home. I relished the dream of driving out onto an Outer Banks strand and opening that side door, rolling out the striped green awning and walking the glassy flat sand down to the foam edges of calling waves, bluegrass tunes calling me back to the light shining from my bus, my tiny home of only what I need, only what is important.

So when the salesman strode over, mirrored sunglasses reflecting my eager grin, I wasn’t really prepared for my dream to end quite so quickly.

“Hi there”, I say.

I point to the blue grey VW Van hidden around the corner of the building with the dealership’s name on the side.

“Where are more of those?”

“That’s not for sale.” He says flatly.

“Okay.” I think, be cheerful.

“Umm. . .I’m looking for a hippie van, a bus…the ultimate camper home on wheels, you know the Mystery Machine, Malibu Barbie Pop-top, Woodstock, So.Cal mow-sheen….”

I click my fingers. I blink. I wink. I smile my red head smile.

“You’re joking right?” he says crossing his arms.

“No”, I say slightly wilting in the late afternoon sun.

“VW doesn’t make vans anymore”, he says, like I’ve just asked which cars come with 8-track.

“They don’t?” I say incredulously.

I mean as wildly popular as the old ones are and as long a legacy as VW has and as many mountain man hipster bluegrass listening PBR drinking techno-hippies there are these days and …No? Not even a box shaped wagon?

“Gosh no”, he says. “The last one was canceled in 2012. Sorry.” He turns and moves toward the showroom, out of the tarmac heat.

Deflated, I feel the breeze blow the edges of my purple daisied sundress. The cars are whizzing blurs on the highway. The showroom door closes. Windshields shine in eye piercing white. Clean tires and shiny stickered sides. All so new. All so ordinary. Feeling a tad foolish, I turn and amble back to my soccer mom Matrix, ankle bells tinkling.

People don’t want to wander anymore. At least not far from a Super 8, I guess.

I look up to see a young couple exit a test drive of a fully tricked out burgundy 2013 Toureg. A cool 52K.

It’s the zombie apocalypse. I’m telling ya.

One Response to “All Who Wander”

  1. veedubbin7 June 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM #

    ahhhh…now you’re writing up my alley….there are still buses to bee found…you just have to keep on keeping on…..we found one down in va beach at the bug house for 5 grand…but it does cost to restore… but it can bee done!!! don’t stop bee-lieving! check out http://www.thesamba.com/ …never know when you might find a treasure! sent you a few pics I had….and now , every time I see a bus i’ll think of you ! keri is in cali right now and she just sent me a pic of a bus this morning!  

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