Saturday, October 17, 2009

Airstream wiring and Star Trek fingers

Earlier this summer Lauren and I took our Airstream in for repairs. We gave the shop ten days to do not too much work and when we picked it back up we were pleased. That is, until we got back home and tried everything out. All their repairs fell apart. So, after complaining to each other I finally wrote the repair shop and they offered to make good on their mistakes. Well, we're back home again and now I'm just fixing it myself.

I'm not going to call this repair shop out, but their name rhymes with Camper Clinic located in Buda, TX. They're self-reportedly the #1 Airstream dealer in Texas and make similar boasts about their repair work. We were unimpressed. One of the simpler, but most important repairs was rewiring in switches for our overhead lights. For those of you who live in sticks-and-bricks homes, you're used to light switches on the wall that are wired out of sight. Not so in an old airstream. Our lights are about as complicated as a flashlight. It's just that the switches are vintage and hard to find. So when I got up into the light panels to redo the shop's work, the wiring was a rat's nest. It was as if they were trying to smuggle wiring across the border. The wires were connected all over the place like little Sarjenka's fingers in the "Pen Pals" episode of Star Trek the Next Generation.

I realized these repair techs weren't incompetent; they were lazy. I quickly cleaned the wiring up and was right proud of the work. It was delightful to tighten everything down and route the wires so cleanly. I wonder if because they typically work on such overly-complicated, country kitsch RVs, these repair techs are not used to their work ever being appreciated or noticed. One of my favorite blogs is Area 63 Productions, an Airstream restoration house out in California. All his projects, large and small feature such masterful attention to detail. I think that's one of my favorite things about this Airstream and vintage in general--the simplicity is a perfect canvas for care and deliberation and craftsmanship.

Sarjenka's multi-segmented fingers