Thursday, September 20, 2012

Caldo de Pollo

To celebrate the fact me and J.R. ( my mechanic partner) got the engine out of the Firebird I rode the moped to El Mexicano where the menu was a classic gradient style of orange and yellow. The waitress spoke English to me but Spanish to everyone else. Caldo was on the specials menu and since I'm not made of money I ordered it with Fanta. This chicken soup comes with chicken on the bone and I made the party at the next table grimace in disgust and revulsion as I devoured the chicken bones like a starving street dog. The music was Shakira and Los Tigres Del Norte. There was no Jarritos nor a salsa bar with serve yourself grilled jalapenos which is my favorite, but the food was good with bonus tortilla chips that made me reminisce about the fried wantons at the Chinese restaurants where my ill mannered behavior was enough to make the old owner give me the evil eye.

I mashed my middle finger with a crowbar today as we spent 10 hours reinstalling the new (original) engine the hard way. Everyone else took the engine out through the bottom but we didn't have a lift so we did it through the top...and it took an hour to line up the motor mounts since I had to install them also after removing them to get around the steering wheel column. And while we were both working topside and trying to line the motor up with the transmission bell housing somehow I either pulled the transmission forward a few inches or yesterday it pulled forward when we lifted the engine out...because after we had reinstalled many components I inspected the transmission and saw something I shouldn't see, which is the drive shaft dangling in disconnected mockery to my efforts.

This is why I'm not being paid by the hour because what is a 5 hour job now becomes a 25 hour job and obviously no one is going to pay that much in labor for me to learn what I did wrong, like no one is going to pay me to lose a flywheel to torque converter bolt and install another one, then find the original bolt and take it all apart so I can install the correct bolt or else I wouldn't sleep right. I don't expect anyone to pay for that but if I make a habit of doing things like that then I can't be a shop mechanic. Right now I look at it as an unpaid lab course in mechanics where I am given cars to learn on and I can take as long as I want and inspect things that have nothing to do with the service request and lose bolts and take pictures and write essays but in the end I will be paid as if I were an expert mechanic who did the job in two hours. I can't complain except that everyone smokes manufactured cigarettes like the stuff is good for you and the air is filled with smoke and sex jokes. I must draw the line at cigarette smoke so this will be the last collaborative effort and I will make myself an area where I can work in peace and breathe only the clean fumes of gasoline and used motor oil. Never mind that our tools aren't organized and the bolts aren't organized and we're working on our backs on a creeper with missing wheels and it's no different than homeless men fixing shit in the dirt.

I suspect the drive shaft can be reconnected by taking it off the differential housing. This I pray or else we are going to jack the transmission up again and try to line it up...or take the engine out again so that by the end I've worked for $2 an hour.

I thought it would be interesting to write about these repair jobs but I'm having a hard time seeing the drama. It's mundane and dirty and basically like dentistry on a giant mouth.
"I need a ten."
"A ten?"
"Maybe a 5/16th"
"ok.."
 "What the hell is this wire doing here."
"I don't know. You pulled it off."

There are potential essays regarding the overall philosophy of car mechanics but when you get down to it a modern engine is all about cable harnesses and connectors and clean sensors and oil pressure. Why would that be interesting? It's not even interesting to me. But philosophically it is important and my mission is to be practical and work at practical ventures to fit in and be productive and go to cabarets and race stock cars. Guitar playing shall be a hobby. I've spent at least three solid years reaching some competence with it but even if I had a chance to play for money I know I'd need to work as well. So I'm trying to develop practical skills that have value in the real world and also which are immediate and holistic and clockwork mechanic repairs fit the bill. The engine either fits or it doesn't. The transmission is either connected to the drive shaft or it isn't. These dogmatic ultimatums satisfy my obsessive nature. What is missing from this picture? This is computer programming for the mechanically inclined. Programming is like virtual mechanics but I'm trying to embrace the tangible realities because virtual living is a manufactured realm cultivated by disaffected individuals and then propagated as their pathological communication...but it has tangible qualities that correspond to our lizard brains and we are entering a virtual world that divides the practical and digital domains. Slavery still exists but the slaves are hidden and the distractions are more colorful. Since this fosters an ignorant and blighted world view I must reject it on principle. It is not a universal outlook...it is specialization at the worst and it's source is humans who are not engaged with other humans. Because it packages all elements of the world into a digital realm and even if theoretically the domains are varied and prolific they are all fixed in the larger digital realm which actually doesn't exist, like interest, it's manufactured to benefit a few people and the parameters can be adjusted to fit the stupid or the smart. Unlike the real world which does not adjust for Adam or Eve.

So philosophy has led to my swollen finger and blue nail, typing with nine fingers in a messy van wearing underoos. But these are tangible characteristics and it is for a purpose that fits my master plan to accumulate experience and knowledge so I can better express my disdain for humanity.

This essay is like chicken soup on the bone that you have to pick off and eat.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.