Monday, November 2, 2009

Amnesia Lane

It never ceases to amaze me how a random sensation can take one back in time. This morning I was driving back from dropping FH at work. "Machine Head" by Bush came on the radio and I had a flood of memories from another life...

One where I was a high school gear head dreaming about becoming a mechanic on the Indy 500. I was quite good at turning a wrench back then. As long as I could fit under something I could work on it. My favorite vehicle to work on was my mother's truck by the simple virtue of it being tall enough for me to slide under without needing to lift it. Back then I discovered very quickly that it was possible to become stuck under shorter cars when one's decolletage refused to squish down enough to get back out. That got annoying very quickly. I'd been spathic* since the 5th grade, which made being a tomboy a bit difficult. Of course this was before I knew that it wasn't normal to have as much back pain as I did. But back then I didn't care. It was fun.

I changed an alternator in the parking lot of a gas station. Once we had to rig a shift linkage with a zip tie, peanut butter, and bubble gum just so we could get to the parts store to purchase a new linkage. I helped replace a broken axle on somebody's mother's car in February and after it got dark the only source of light and heat we had was a living room lamp, sans shade that was strung out from the house on two long extension cords. Rebuilding small and large engines was a given at that point. Simple things like oil changes could be done in my sleep.

Of course being female, there were boys involved. Boys that thought it was both cool and intimidating that a girl worked on cars alongside them. Silly boys.

There were four of us from school who had a plan. We wanted to get into the competitive program at Lincoln Technical in Indiana together. That way we'd have friends on campus already. Sadly half of our quartet dropped out of school. The remaining boy and I weren't as close without the other two around. He went one direction and I went another. He did become a mechanic though. In fact, so did one of the dropouts.... but that's a different story.

By next year that old truck will be ours and once again I will be able to work on a vehicle that isn't computer controlled and is tall enough for me to get underneath. The question is will I want to? ;-)

*Spathic- geological term for possessing good cleavage


Sans said...

Would you believe I wanted to be a car mechanic as well? Life has a different plan for me though :).

Alice said...

When my classmates and I were preparing to take our SAT's, we were given a questionnaire to help us make career choices. I plotted way out there, and the closest profession was 'diesel mechanic'. It makes sense, actually, since I like working with my hands and can understand how stuff works, but I hate the smell of diesel and I hate getting greasy type dirt on my hands.

Our cars are old enough that we can still work on them ourselves. All the electronic bits that make up cars make us reluctant to get a new car.

BTW, I have always had a tomboy figure. Your description of working under the short cars had me giggling!

Brad said...

Will you want to? You probably have three or four ideas of what you'd like to do to that old truck. I say make it an EV and run over the overly-smug hippies in their priuses.