Sunday, April 1, 2012

1st Guest Speaker

So a while back I asked all of you to give me some feedback on my car issues and I got a lot of "Its OK you just like cars" which I agree with, and I am morally OK with. My problem is that I know that they are lame wastes of money and resources. Here is one of the more insightful responses I got from my good friend Ryan. I think he gets it because he is struggling with similar thoughts and we grew up working on cars together and so we were steeped in the same water. Here it is:

First of all, I don't think you have a problem. At least, your problem isn't with cars. Your problem is being hung up on the fact that your desire to work on cars is wrong. Try not looking at the work as the end product. Look at the effort you expend in finding the diamond in the rough and getting it cleaned up and running sweet as the result. The car, the boat, the bike, the whatever - they aren't the thing that makes you tick, not what makes you happy. What you desire is the work, the searching and the finding, the cleaning and the fixing. And that is OK. In fact, I think that is a beautiful thing.
The past 6 weeks have been a complete blur for me. Today was my first day off of working in that time period - and I only didn't work because I was too sick to get out of bed until after 11 this morning. My boss has a 30 foot sport fishing boat with twin 6-cylinder Volvo diesels. It's been needing a ton of maintenance and repair work for awhile now. I volunteered to help work on it and of course roped Shawn in too since we needed his expertise. It was supposed to be a 5 to 6 day job: dry dock the boat, pull the drives, pull the engines, clean and paint everything, repair what needed to be once we got it disassembled and then slam it all back together. It has turned into a 6-plus week operation. Shawn has been driving over to Arcata to work on it every weekend for the past 6 weeks with Scott and I. And Scott and I have put in countless additional days on our own. It's been a total nightmare. Every. Single. Thing. We've touched has been broken. Both turbos bad (one trashed enough to require removing the head to inspect for damage from the destroyed impeller), both oil pans removed to be cleaned and painted, both water pumps rebuilt, both sea-water pumps rebuilt... and the list goes on and on. Steering bushings trashed, further removal required. And then came the reassembly that brought about flawed and damaged fiberglass work that pushed us back another week. And then we finally got it together and tried putting it in the water on Thursday, and, it leaked. Like a fucking sieve. Boat is now back out with heavy duty marine sealer setting up over the weekend in hopes of patching up the joint where the fiberglass is damaged due to shitty design. Otherwise we'd have to pull everything back apart completely and hire someone to rebuild the entire transom (rear part where drives and engines mount) of the boat. An easy 2 week and $10,000 task - for a professional. After Scott already has to have at least $25 or $30,000 into this so far. It better not leak when we put it back in the water on Monday...

Anyway... I shared all that with you for a reason. While this has been one of the more hectic and crazy few weeks of my life it has also been incredibly rewarding. This isn't even my boat and I feel like it has been a totally worthwhile experience. Why? First of all because it has been the first time in probably over a decade that Shawn and I have hung out together for an extended time. And it wasn't just sitting around, not family or friend time. It was accomplishing a task. Solving problems. Fixing broken stuff. Taking something flawed and making it better. The process has been stressful, it has been disheartening, it has been frustrating. But it has also given us an excuse to be together. It has given me an opportunity to work with my hands again. I missed it. I'm sure you miss it too. Shawn never gets a break from it. I think that both extremes aren't right. But people like me and you and Shawn, we need to create, need to repair, need to bring back the broken from the brink. When those engines fired back up on Wednesday it was a beautiful thing. You've heard that sound before. You know what if feels like to turn a key on what was once pieces scattered across the garage and hear it roar to life. It's not the car or the engine. Who cares about the car or the engine. It's the knowledge that you have made something work that wasn't working when you started on it. You did that. And you probably did it with friends around you. I have gotten so much fulfillment from working with Shawn on this disaster of a project. We've done good work and done it as efficiently and effectively as we could. That's a good feeling to have. I remember getting that same sense of fulfillment all those years ago working with you on the buggy or your panel or the canoe or any number of projects we took on. I know I had been missing that feeling. Maybe you have been too. So maybe it isn't the car. Maybe you're just searching for a sense of fulfillment that fixing cars give you. Roll it around, see what you think.

Thanks Ryan, I think you nailed it. I just like the cars because the represent a clear path to me one that involves hanging out with my pals and one that is extremely rewarding because you can see the end result. We do share this need to create, solve problems and fix things and that is what it is really about. I want that, and the car is the manifestation of all those things in my mind. Would I still get as much satisfaction from putting an electric motor in a 69 Camaro? Hell yeah, because it is about the process and the problem solving and the creating, and if I can make a statement about how lame cars are in their current state all the better!

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