Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Among the joys of ModernVespa

Those of you who are familiar with my favorite haunts know that one of my regular hangouts is the ModernVespa forum.

The forum demands less of me than this blog.

ModernVespa always offers a smorgasboard of Vespa and non-Vespa topics to browse through, and when I find one that strikes my fancy, or one where someone needs advice that I am able to offer, I can dive in and join the fray.  It's not too much in terms of a commitment.  If I get busy, I can pull back, and the forum bus rolls along on its merry way, none the worse for my absence. 

Here, on the other hand, I'm the chief cook, bottle-washer and main entertainer, for better or for worse.  When I get busy, as I do at this time of year, the blog coasts to a stop.  The only sign of life lately is Conchscooter contributing an odd challenging comment that makes me chuckle.   Then I spend my few free moments in the morning pondering how best to reply.

Each medium has really nice features that I have come to appreciate more than I ever expected when my riding and social media adventures began.  If the blog demands a lot, it also returns much more than it takes.  This is where friendships are born, where the seeds of real adventures are sown, and bear fruit.

ModernVespa also has its charms.

One of the amazing things about ModernVespa, quite aside from virtually instantaneous top-notch technical advice, is the camaraderie of the forum.

The annual holiday gift exchange is a standout.

Each year for the past four years, A volunteer has offered to organize a holiday season gift exchange.  Once the gift exchange thread appears, forum members sign up, and the organizer pairs each giver, with a getter.  It sounds trivially simple, but there's much more to it than meets the eye.  This year Matthew offered a hilarious glimpse of the mayhem behind the scenes.  As one forum member pointed out 'no good deed goes unpunished', a famous quip variously attributed to Clare Booth Luce, Oscar Wilde, Billy Wilder, and Andrew W. Mellon.

And that's how a mystery box showed up on our doorstep on Friday. 
When I opened the box I found out that my benefactor was DaveLX, a forum member from London England.  Digging a little further into the box revealed a very generous gift. 
It's a cordless electric screwdriver from Black & Decker.  
The really cool thing about it, is that the screwdriver senses your hand motion and adjusts the direction, speed and torque based on whether you twist your wrist left, or right, and how much you turn the driver.

What a great holiday gift!

Amazingly, one of the few tools I didn't own, and never owned, was a cordless screwdriver.  It's odd that recently I found myself thinking I might buy one.  Funny how things like this happen serendipitously, isn't it?  It's as if the universe reads our thoughts.

Along those lines, there have been an unusually large number of articles in the press, online, on TV, and radio lately about physics, deep space exploration, and cosmology.  For instance, the calcium in our teeth didn't exist at the beginning of time.  It was born much,  much later in a supernova event.  Now that makes you think.

In one of the articles I stumbled on, among the theories about our universe, was one hypothesis that there is a chance, a tiny yet not-quite-possible-to-ignore chance, that our universe doesn't in fact exist.  Think along the lines of the movie The Matrix.

But then you stub your toe, or something equally dumb and painful, and the universe seems all too real.

Getting back on track for a moment, the gift exchange has a flipside.  The gift you give.

Knowing that things would quickly get too damn busy for me, I lost no time.

I got really lucky this year and drew the name of one of the most prominent members of the forum.  I was initially worried about what I could possibly get her.  I have had exchanges with Judy in the last couple of years.  I sent her a gremlin bell when I read that she didn't have one but that it was best if it came unsolicited.  Judy sent me a saddle heat shield. I can't remember which came first.

Fortunately, as I was strolling through a local department store, Judy's gift almost spoke to me.

An elf.

This one was not your run-of-the-mill Christmas elf.  He had a wry yet friendly expression that seemed worldy-wise and just a tiny bit ironic.  His clothes were appropriately elvish, yet clearly high-end and, yes, fashionable.  Wispy grey fur trimmed his elvish hat and collar framing his face and lending him an air of impish mystery.  He appeared to be of a certain age, not some adolescent elf, wise rather than child-like and prankish.

What a perfect gift for Judy Rossman of Waialua Hawaii.  Judy is one of the kindest, nicest, most giving individuals on the forum.  She is like a kind-hearted ModernVespa elf herself, quietly looking after people who may need looking-after.  Hopefully the elf will strike a chord for Judy as it did for me.

The US Postal Service says it was delivered, but so far Judy hasn't acknowledged it.  I hope the package wasn't pilfered before she could get to it.  One never knows.  That would be seriously bad karma, now wouldn't it?

Assuming it get into her hands safe and sound and Judy posts a photo, I'll post it here.  In my rush to get it off to Hawaii, I didn't take its picture.  Just as well, don't you think?

PS: The elf was delivered safe and sound, allbeit by a quite circuitous route.  Judy posted a photo.  Doesn't it look like the elf is earnestly explaining why it took him so long to get to Waialua?


SonjaM said...

You really didn't own a cordless screwdriver? Even the worst equipped mechanic in Europe would have at least one of those ;-) (ask my hubby)

RichardM said...

All this time have you been using a (shudder) manual screwdriver?


redlegsrides said...

nothing wrong with manual screwdrivers! :)

way harder to strip screws.....

David Masse said...

Well I do now! :)

David Masse said...

On the bike, definitely.

Around the house, a cordless drill with appropriate driver bits.

Set the torque to 3 or 4, hold the chuck, pull the trigger, and you have an imaginary machine pistol, useful for killing zombies in the recesses of the workshop.

David Masse said...

... so you'd think, and then, aaaaargh!!!

Another useless Phillips screw :)

Trobairitz said...

What a great idea for a forum to do. It is nice that someone accepted the trouble of organizing that. Really cool.

David Masse said...

It really is a very special space.

fledermaus said...

...which may leave me as the last person to not have an electric screwdriver. Looks like a fun one. :o)

I too waited a few days to hear from my MV recipient (Knight Train). Seemed to be absent from the forum for that time as well...did receive a PM, so I can rest easier now. It is a great event.

Now I'm anxious to see the elf....

David Masse said...

I sent Judy a message. I was concerned the package was left and someone made off with it.

No worries though she has the gift, loves it, but has been laid low by a nasty flue.

She's over the worst, but still suffering.

I'm confident photos will surface. Judy's a gem.

ADK Jim said...

David, I agree wholeheartedly that the value of the forum and blogs sites like yours is the friendships, support and knowledge that is shared. A cordless electric screwdriver is the icing on the cake. Happy Holidays. ADK Jim

David Masse said...

Jim, with a little luck and a little planning in the new year, we could ride to Key West.

Shazza said...

I've recently joined ModernVespa also and really enjoying the camaraderie. Only just missed out on participating in the gift exchange but will be on it next year, for sure.

Loving the cordless!

David Masse said...

Thanks for dropping by Shazza! I've added your blog the the sidebar.

ModernVespa is a great hangout, no Vespa required.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I keep saying that I'll go back and spend some time on MV and haven't really been there since owning my Buddy. Just last weekend, friend Tom, out of the blue said, "what you really need is a Vespa." He must be right.

A very novel gift exchange, first I've heard of anything like it.

David Masse said...

Doug Vespas are amazing. I personally think that ergonomics tops the feature list.

I've ridden bigger scooters and have found them uncomfortable compared to a Vespa. Even the small frame Vespas fit six footers well.

I think it has to do with the sheet steel frame. It maximizes the distance from the floor to the handlebars and that's the critical measurement, as far as I am concerned.

All the other scooters have tubular steel frames topped by plastic body parts, resulting in a higher floor, more bulk and less comfort.

As for the gift exchange, it really does forge stronger bonds among the forum members and provides tangible benefits to boot.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.