Sunday, August 27, 2006

Greece. Monkey.

When I started my truck Friday afternoon, a spectacular cacophony blasted from the engine compartment. Passers-by literally stopped to stare. I knew immediately that my water pump was giving up the ghost. There had been some coolant leakage and some overheating, so I can't say I didn't get fair warning. The screeching, clattering sound was the impeller bearing expressing its reluctance to impel further.

There was a time when my risk-taking nature manifested itself in cross-country hitch-hiking, chemical ingestion and consorting with women of unknown provenance.
Now, I roll the bones by trying to nurse an ailing water pump to the weekend, and then taking my car apart in an effort to fix same without resort to an expensive technician. For some folks, working on the family heap is a hobby. For me, however, it's a scary challenge. Once you've got your engine disabled, you really have no option other than to go forward and able the damn thing. (Well, there's always the $65 dollar tow to a garage, the sheepish admission that you've screwed up your own car, the dismissive sneer of the mechanic, (aka The Guy Who Knows What He's Doing), etc. Well, my ego won't accept that manner of humiliation. I'd rather walk.

Fortunately, replacing the water pump is one of the tasks that can be done without resort to a lift, and my '91 Ford Ranger 4wd has enough ground clearance that I can get under it when necessary. It's not my intention to bore you with a play-by-play of the procedure. My point is that anyone can learn anything. And most of the time, (especially with access to the internets) you can teach yourself what you need to know. There is value in being able to do for oneself. We heat exclusively with wood from our own property. It's more work, but every log I throw into the stove is a great big "fuck you" to Exxon. We recently had the engine and transmission rebuilt in my wife's minivan; a big "fuck you" to Ford and the "buy a new car every three years" contingent. So when you see me covered with grease, or splitting a pile of firewood, don't admire my self-reliance; feel free to assume that I'm just saying "fuck you" to someone.

9 Comments:

  • "My point is that anyone can learn anything. And most of the time, (especially with access to the internets) you can teach yourself what you need to know."

    I couldn't agree more. Not only that, but I think most people can get downright GOOD at many things, which was a point I was trying to explore last Friday in my own post about photography.

    I wish we could heat from our own wood, but we're just not set up for that here. Instead of saying "fuck you" to the utilities, they say it (actually, they *do* it) to us every month from December through February.

    I've always dreamed, though, of having my own solar power grid out on my garage roof or something.

    By Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas, at 11:20 AM  

  • anyone can learn anything

    Oh, god, I wish that were so. Maybe I just know a lot stupid people.

    Let's say it's true except for morons.

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 11:48 AM  

  • anyone can learn anything

    Oh, god, I wish that were so. Maybe I just know a lot stupid people.

    Let's say it's true except for morons.

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 11:49 AM  

  • anyone can learn anything

    Oh, god, I wish that were so. Maybe I just know a lot stupid people.

    Let's say it's true except for morons.

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 12:50 PM  

  • Stupid Blogger!

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 1:10 PM  

  • Once, to my eternal surprise, I installed new Fender Vintage pickups in my Jap-Strat. Got a wiring diagram from the Internets, bought a soldering-iron, learned to use it, and sa-la-bim, sa-la-boum, there it was.

    Who was I saying "fuck you" to? The nice guy down at the guitar shop, I suppose, from whom I took a $50 job. He once patiently explained to me how a truss rod works, and how to adjust one. Even lent me his wrench. Ah, well, he's got enough business already anyway.

    By Blogger Neddie, at 3:00 PM  

  • I suppose you were saying "fuck you" to whoever foisted those inferior pick-ups on you in the first place. Unless he's a scrupulous, high-end shop, he's probably sold thousands of dollars worth of dreck to thousands of kids, so the lost 50 is just his karmic debt.

    By Blogger roxtar, at 3:27 PM  

  • As the humble driver of a series of very old cars (currently, a 1988 Celica with one eye stuck open that I just have to get fixed before the days are short enough that I have to drive after dark in the evenings), and a wood stove I chuck stovelengths into all winter long to avoid paying the utility company even more of my hard-earned money, I hear ya, Roxtar. Wood heat is our only heat once the weather gets cold.
    But I have to admit that I buy my cordwood pre-split (having neither the muscle or the will to play Daniel Boone) and when that Celica-eye gets fixed, it's gonna make some mechanic a happy fellow. To make up for my lack of mechanical know-how (and frankly, my lack of interest in learning the Zen of car repair), my delicate "f-you" takes the form of keeping chickens and eating the delicious fresh eggs they cheerfully produce. And I give a lot of them away to my buddies, too. I wish I could be a better f-you-er, but for now, these things are good enough for me.

    By Blogger Blue Wren, at 1:54 AM  

  • Wisdom indeed. One never wants to let a water pump get fucked up and seize and shear apart and send the cooling fan clear through th' radiator. Like I did in my '86 white rapist dodge cargo van. 'Twas the one time that the surveying of a vehicular trauma actually elicited a laugh.

    By Blogger Bobby Lightfoot, at 11:19 PM  

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