'Have hair dryer, will travel'

There's always been something magical about the nomadic life. Taking the vehicle of your choice and going somewhere, either alone or with a friend or spouse. I spent much of the gas-rationed, recessionary 1970s touring Florida by motorcycle, existing on burgers, hot dogs, and unemployment checks. Days of difficulty then emerge as marvelous stories to recall now.

My brother has toured America by pickup truck, with sleeping bag, food pantry, cooler, diving mask and snorkel, fishing pole, suntan oil, towels, and a computerized direction finder that tells distances between cities as well as other data.

He visited me in Florida. There is always a new nomadic tale to tell. We unpacked boxes. I noticed a metallic, pistol-shaped hair dryer sitting prominently on the seat, resembling a sidearm of Flash Gordon or Captain Marvel.

"What's the hair dryer for?" I asked. Neither of us has enough hair to warrant such a contraption.

"Have hair dryer, will travel," he humored.

I nodded uncomprehendingly.

We ate pizza, watched movies until sleep overtook us. During the night, rain came. We awoke to a damp morning.

We wanted to go to the beach, shop, visit malls and attractions.

But the pickup truck would not start, crank after crank. It disliked dampness. The truck had had a night's rest, and now it wanted an all-day rest. I was disheartened.

"Have hair dryer, will travel," my brother humored again.

He raised the hood, plugged in the dryer, switched it to high. He pointed the pistol dryer at the distributor and left it on. I shook my head: 1960s-style James Bond gadgetry was warming the innards of a truck.

After a few minutes, he asked me to start the truck. The old Ford F-150 thundered to life, trembling and ready for action.

After a weeklong visit, my brother had to move on. We'd had sun all week, warm nights, too. Eureka! - the truck started on its own.

Everyday life tries to overwhelm us with complexity, but defiantly we find ways to simplify and overcome obstacles.

Have hair dryer, will travel.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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