MADRAS, Ore. — Not everyone has Eclipse Mania. Here’s a verbatim exchange at a gas station Sunday morning along Route 97 on the road to Madras, which is in the path of totality for Monday's solar eclipse.
Reporter: So what you doin’ for the eclipse?
Gas station attendant: Sleepin’.
Reporter [clutching pearls]: Sleeping????? Why????
Attendant: Beers tonight.
We should remember that hype is not a universal solvent. There is always a huge segment of the public that is in the Don't Know/Don't Care category. And there are the people who will be at work Monday, at jobs in which “I want to see the eclipse” is not going to cut it with the boss.
Jennifer Lewis, 41, was with her husband, Mark, on the side of Route 97 on Sunday selling tank tops, their own design, $20 each. But Monday, she’ll be at the cellular store in Redmond, just inside the path of eclipse totality, where she works trying to sell cellphones and data plans.
“Everyone’s thinking there’s money to be made,” she said, referring to local businesses. She’s skeptical. “A lot of locals already left town because they didn’t want to be in this chaos.”
She’ll probably step outside during totality, but that’s about it. No helicoptering to remote locations for the champagne breakfast and whatnot.
Eclipse chasing has its elite element, but most of the people who have come here to Madras appear to be members of the physically mobile, logistically enabled middle class. They’re professionals, people with paid vacation, and retirees who’ve morphed into road warriors.
They know how to get across the country and set up camp, typically laden with shiny tents (if not recreational vehicles the size of locomotives). They’re in their camp chairs, sated, having eaten prodigious amounts of food hauled into the desert in coolers large enough to store a side of beef.
You can intuit their unspoken motto: We shall not suffer.
Alicia Alberg, 42, and Gretchen Eglit, 46, came down from Seattle with their husbands and kids and arrived Sunday at the Totality Awesome Eclipse Camp, nicely situated in what appears to be a random field within walking distance of the fairgrounds and Solarfest. The Post caught up with them as Eglit was explaining to Alberg the merits of funnel cakes.
Here’s how they roll: First they spent two nights at the Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood — the huge old place made famous by the movie “The Shining.” And they skied. This is not a misprint. The old volcano has a high enough elevation that it has skiing year-round, and they availed themselves of the opportunity. Then they rolled on down to Madras.
A reporter asked whether they’d discovered the distillery off Route 26, and they hadn’t, but apparently they didn't need to.
“We have good red wine and great rosé,” Eglit said.
“And maybe some margaritas,” Alberg said.
“We set up a margarita bar at the camp site,” Eglit said.
“We’re also taking care of the kids,” Alberg added hastily.