Talking Our Way Into Oblivion – Hydrogen and Hot Air

A few years ago my friend Rich asked me if I’d be interested in talking with an older guy in his late 70s who was experimenting with hydrogen generators for retrofitting onto his vehicle.   I wasn’t looking into hydrogen generating, but I’m a curious sort of fellow.  I didn’t require any persuading.  I just told Rich to give Bryce my phone number.  About a week later he called me.

Turned out Bryce had spent his career as chief mechanic for the Ford and General Motors Speed Teams, or Racing Teams, some such thing.  He was part of the group that put together the hydrogen powered vehicle that established a record for the highest speed ever recorded for an internal combustion engine driven automobile.

Using what he learned from all that, Bryce had created a series of hydrogen generators for his own vehicle, trying to maximize efficiency and deal with other shortcomings with the system.  He did it all from salvaged materials.  Heck of an interesting guy the first few times we talked.  I wish I’d taken notes and drawn sketches of what he told me.

At first during our acquaintance Bryce and I had conversations.  Two people brainstorming things he was doing, and I was doing.  But gradually the hydrogen generating conversational possibilities ran down.  Bryce was calling me every day or so, telling me all manner of things I didn’t want to hear, such as what the waitress in the cafe where he took coffee and meals said to him, what he said back, what she said back.  Or what other customers said to him and what he said back.  Or his brother.

Bryce would call, ask how I was, not wait for an answer, and talk non-stop for an hour, two hours.  I could put the phone down, go feed the chickens or make a cup of coffee and come back to the phone without him noticing.  Sometimes I’d tie a bandanna around my head attaching the phone to my ear and read a book waiting for him to wind down.

This went on for months.  I didn’t know what to do about it, except straight-on explaining to him that this wasn’t conversation and wasn’t a source of joy to me.  I mentioned it to Rich, and it turned out Bryce was doing the same thing to him.

Finally, as gently as I could manage, I interrupted one of his monologues and explained the problem, as I viewed it.  I told him I liked him, that I’d enjoy conversations with him, but that I didn’t want to hear the same stories over and over about people at the restaurant, his brother, etc.  That if we were going to continue having communications there’d need to be exchanges and some level of concern as to the amount of interest the other person had in hearing it.

Despite my attempt to soften the words, Bryce got his feelers hurt badly by this.  He never called again, which I preferred to the alternative of things continuing as they were.

Sometime a few months later Rich finally got his fill of it and tried the same tactic on Bryce, with the same result.  He was more reluctant to do it than I’d been, because he felt sorrier for Bryce than I was willing to allow myself to indulge.

Bryce came up in conversation between us a couple of days ago.  Turns out it’s been almost exactly a year since Rich has heard from him, and a few months more than that for me.  We wondered aloud how he was doing.

But neither of us is willing to bite the bullet and call him to find out, on pain of maybe starting the whole mess again.

I began this post figuring on saying some things about hydrogen generators but drifted off into Bryce and his problems.  Maybe some other time, the hydrogen generators.

Old Jules

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20 responses to “Talking Our Way Into Oblivion – Hydrogen and Hot Air

  1. G’Day! Old Jules,
    Thanks you for your post, Gas mileage is everything when it comes to driving a car. The question is – should you get a DIY Hydrogen Generator or HHO conversion Kit? It is important that you make the wise decision to save yourself from tons of money lost.
    I’ll be back to read more next time

    • Hot Chicks: Probably depends on your particular circumstances, the way you use your vehicle, the type of vehicle, the amount of hands-on you’re willing to put into maintaining it. Bryce was working on a number of approaches to reduce maintenance, and his installation was relatively simple. But it can’t be bought off the shelf anywhere. Gracias, Jules

  2. Love how you tied the phone to your head. That one cracked me up. Some people really like to talk, don’t they? I think they can’t quiet their brains enough to listen.

  3. Sounds like Bryce needs to start a blog 🙂

    • Jane Sadek: Bryce had the ladies at his local library set him up an email account, which he couldn’t learn to access and didn’t like the screen reading. So they printed it off at 15 cents a page for him. Bryce wasn’t a prospect for computer tech entering his life. Jules

  4. Write him a letter!

  5. Haha, the idea of tying your phone to your head. Had a friend like that too. I’d leave the room, come back and they’d still be talking. No idea I wasn’t there. Nothing wrong with telling him the truth. Friendship is not the same as therapy.

  6. Got a good laugh out of this one. Hardy-har. Sometimes, you just got to do what you got to do…

  7. Aw poor Bryce. Now I’m worried about him 😦
    But I know what you mean…

  8. A one-sided “relationship” is impossible to sustain. And utterly unworthy of it if one could!

  9. Give the poor guy a call!
    Now…..explain the photo.

  10. I enjoyed this post, as I once had person like this in my life. I’m sure he’s talking to someone else right now. It doesn’t really matter who is audience is. I like your stories. thank you

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