It’s four thirty in the afternoon and Frank and I have just about exchanged our life stories.
It’s after two days of early setup, countless miles of model train running, of hundreds of little kids and answering questions and chatting with model enthusiasts. The Deland Train show always takes some effort but brings in some nice scratch, so we’re happy to attend.
The thing is (and I’ve mentioned this before), we’ve got space-age modules now. They set up like a dream, and close up as fast as an umbrella. We can go from trains running to ‘away all trailers’ in 15 minutes.
So, when the guy with the gigantic O-gauge layout came over and asked for help getting his in the trailer, I had to moan. See, he’s got what we’ll call the first generation of mobile modules. It’s this huge layout, something like ten feet across by twenty long, built on a beam frame with rumbling wheels. It snugs into his trailer with a power winch. The thing sounds like a siege engine being moved.
Today, the problem was an HO club with (we’ll call them) second generation modules, like we used to have (before we hid them in a place deeper and darker than a landfill (see my blogs on the TY&E)). These are fixed-sized modules that box together and have to be loaded into cars and trailers like big heavy crates. These back-breakers used to take us ninety minutes or more to ship.
But the HO guys are blocking the door the O guy needs to bring his trailer around. So Frank and I are sitting, watching these guys doing the things we used to do before we collectively redesigned our layout for speed and ease of assembly. So there are about four guys working and it’s going into their car trunks really slow. Frank and I talk club business, about our lives, our wives, our houses. All that stuff.
And now it’s 4:30. Our club left forty-five minutes ago. Exasperated, I go over to where the O guy is standing near the laboring HO guys. “Hey, how about asking these guys to help you?” I say as politely as possible.
Oh, he already has?