Mechanic’s Malaise

I miss fixing things.

I’m not so good around the house, because, well, the house is never really “fixed.”  It’s always one thing or another.  Clean, sweep, repair, adjust, back to cleaning.  That, and my dad and father-in-law are both completely handy around the house in their own ways.  They probably have the expertise between them to build a house from the ground up without help (well, maybe with the plumbing).  Me, not so much.  I can do some things, but I always get the feeling in the back of my head that my dad could have done it better.  Not that he’d find fault with what I did, because he’s not that kind of guy…but he’d know how to do it right the first time.

Not so good with cars, either.  Hell, modern cars are just so damned complicated.  “Check engine.”  Yeah, engine’s there.  Now what, smartass?  You have to have a damned computer just to find out what’s wrong.  “O2 sensor fault.”  Okay, I’ve got a spark plug wrench and a set of hex keys.  Can I fix it with that?  Fuck.

That’s one of the things I dearly miss about having a motorcycle around.  A motorcycle is a wrencher’s canvas.  There’s always something there to check, tighten, tweak, adjust, add on, subtract, or fucking completely rebuild.  You can leave something the same because you’re happy with it; you can leave it to do later, or you can change it right now.  Change the mirrors, the seat, the bars, the exhaust.  The lights, the gauges, the suspension.  Bore out the cylinders.  Switch to stainless brake lines.  Try a new FI map and dyno that baby.  Throw on a fairing, or take one off.  Saddlebags, or strip it down.  There’s always something if you want there to be something.

Some days I wouldn’t go riding.  I’d just pull the bike out of the garage, put it up on the rearstand, and work on it.  Wash it, polish it.  Check the chain.  Torque all the bolts.  Look it over and think about it.  “Clip ons?  Maybe switch to clip ons.  After I change the front springs, though.  Exhaust?  Well, maybe I should keep it quiet and stealthy.  Attract less attention.”  It was something that fully engaged my attention, allowing me to lose myself in the work.  It involved both my practical, wrencher left-brain (tighten to 40 ft-lbs exactly) and my creative artist right-brain (would look better with different mirrors).  I could do almost anything with the tools I had on hand already.  Hell, occasionally even my son could watch.  He was too young to ride with me, but not too young to hold a wrench.

Buddy giving a helping hand

It’s not every day that I think about it.  Unlike riding, it’s not exactly predictable when I’ll miss it.  Riding I normally miss on days when the weather is right, when the sun is at a certain angle, when certain smells are in the air.  Wrenching I often miss on weekend mornings when the sun is bright and the shade in the driveway beside my house is cool.  But sometimes it comes on me unannounced, just when I wish I could get my hands into something and do something fun, creative, and constructive.  To fix something, make something, improve something for no other reason than to do it.  That’s fun.

My parents are airborne and headed this way as I type, and I’m looking forward to a good weekend of visiting, watching some football with the ol’ man, doing some fun stuff with the kid and Granny and Granddaddy.  Hope everybody has a great weekend.

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2 Responses

  1. You and my brother are total peas in a pod. Except my bro does cars, not bikes, but still…. my boys can spend HOURS upon HOURS in the garage, tinkering, plotting and planning. Sometimes I go out and listen in. It is endlessly entertaining for them, and for me too…

  2. Bet your brother is better at it than I am!

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