Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feb.22,2009 - Mechanics

Saturday seemed like a good day to take the Harley motorcycle for a spin over to the boat, take a run in the dinghy and maybe even start up the sailboat diesel engine. Note the operative word, "idea". Einstein said, "genius is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration". The Secret encourages us to 'manifest' our reality. Lots of people really do think that there are people who would line up to buy their 'idea'. Some live their lives on the couch smoking shit that makes them think their 'ideas' are real. These 'legends in their own minds' are also the best 'critics' of what everyone else is actually doing.

In reality machines have minds of their own. The Harley wasn't impressed with the last freezing cold ride to Abbotsford and had gone back to hibernating. Neutral, choke out, crank, crank, sputter, dying lights. The battery should have more charge than that! Tool kit. 5 million 2hundred and 41 things called spanners or wrenches. In keeping with official Canadian language policy the toolkit is bilingual, SAE and Metric. The socket wrench set has several more thousand pieces. I hire a sherpa and head into the tool box for a week or two and come back with the treasure that releases the battery strap. After that it's down hill unhooking the terminals and running the battery upstairs to the charger.

A few hours later and a half dozen tasks of daily living completed I'm back at the bike connecting the battery and cleaning connections between the battery and alternator. As well I've brought polaroid shots of the sunny outdoors and news broadcasts from several different sources to lay out in front of the bike. I think the picture of the happy Triumph enjoying the sunshine does it. When I crank over the engine it literally purrs into that resounding happy Harley thump,thump,thump, thump.

I left the bike running while I returned to the high rise apartment and donned all the motorcycle gear like a kid getting into a Winnipeg winter snow suit. The girl was equally attired by this time having spent the morning in the bath.

The ride to Trev Deely Motorcycles was sensational. At Trev's I sat on a half dozen bigger bikes practicing the Secret and trying to manifest the $25,000 spare change I'd need for one of these beauties. While I'm in the parts department the girl has been to the Harley fashion boutique. I walk out with a new battery and she's got a pair of Harley designer slacks with logo.

Another glorious ride over Second Narrows to North Vancouver. It's really hard to resist the urge to keep going. A Harley is forever calling back at you, "Alaska, boss, can we go to Alaska? Mexico, nice this time of the year, Boss?"

My GIRI, the Folkes steel sailboat, is still there where I left it. I'm always glad to see that. I once came back and it had dragged anchor across a bay, having decided to go on it's own walkabout, obviously bored with where I'd left it.

The dinghy was naturally, in parts. I had to attach the pontoons to the hard body. There's probably some special grease for this task but I used mazola oil because the bottle was handy. Given the proliferation of KY Jelly in grocery stores it's time a single lonely engineer should write a paper on it's lubricant properities for non human application. When I 'm doing mechanics with the guys we use all manner of sexual terms for discussing the putting things in other things. She was doing really well pushing the tubing into the other side of the steel dinghy base. I wasn't about to distract her with the usual useful references.

To inflate the dinghy I then needed a pump. The pump of course was buried 3 miles down in the lazarette under all the "other stuff". Pumping the tubing with air is tiring after a winter of sloth. But the inflated dinghy was a thing of beauty. It was just that I'd forgotten to get the paddles, water pump, life jackets and gas can from under all the 'other stuff' when I was down there in the lazarette the first time. Several expeditions later I had everything but the Yamaha 4 hp motor which I'd locked to the boat and hidden the keys for. It is true, I am forever hiding keys from myself. Eventually I found them, probably in the first place a thief would look, and got the motor from the big boat to the little boat wrenching back and arms and hitting anything that could be hit with the propeller end.

While I connected the engine to the dinghy I remembered the previous trauma of dropping an outboard over the side and watching $1000's of dollars slip way. Thankful to have the engine now on the dinghy I yanked hard on the rope crank. Immediately I realized if I yanked it again while the engine was still engaged I would surely dislocate my shoulder. With engine disengaged I began yanking interminably on the rope crank, eventually remembering the switch that tells the engine that the fuel is coming from the outside tank not the empty inside tank. This revelation on the verge of total exhaustion was followed by one last yank and the the joy of hearing the engine come alive at last as it began spitting water and chugging contentedly.

She stepped daintily into the boat and took her seat. She'd been trying on different boating jackets and checking her lipstick. For the next hour we toured Coal Harbour watching hundreds of seagulls take flight at our passage, joined by a seals and admired all the tug boats near my moorage. It was a sunny pristine day on the water. When that was done I got us back to the big boat. She stepped daintily out of the dinghy up onto the dock and said, 'that was realy fun." I then manhandled the dinghy onto the front of the sailboat leaving it inflated and ready to work as the tender it was meant to me. I then dragged the 4 hp engine, catching the propeller on every loose rope, to lock it on it's storage mounting having found the keys I'd already hidden.

The main Yanmar boat engine was another matter. I'd not run it since the year before but it finally turned over, pouring enough black smoke out of the exhaust to have the satellite cameras recording a terrorist attack on Second Narrows bridge. Then as if the effort was too much for it, the engine died. After a long while I concluded it needed fuel. With two tanks and various switches, I had the sneaky suspicion I'd turned the fuel off the year before for layaway, but now couldn't remember which switch. I had to work my way through the whole system till I got fuel into the pre engine filter only to realize the filter itself was solid varnish. Changing the filter and bleeding each of the points of the engine where air gets trapped,watching the bubbles spill out each time I hand cranked the engine, I finally was ready to start the engine again.

"Push this button, " I told her. "Yes," she said. Then I left her in the cockpit and went down to the engine to watch as it once again came alive. "Turn it off! Turn it off!" I called as diesel spurted into my face from a lose bleed screw. "How?" she called back, panic stricken. As I did the mechanics olympic dash between engine and starter, I thought, "you really should have told her that, too, you idiot!" "You pull this straight up." I said. "The red knob thing." She answered. I said yes, resisting further comment.. She pulled it straight up and the engine stopped. I cleaned up the diesel fuel, wiped off my face and tightened the screw. "Start the engine, " I called and the engine started first crank. After a while I joined her and told her she could pull on the red knob thing.

After that we closed up the boat and got back to the bike riding home to stop on Denman Street for Roosters incomparable take out or delivery chicken dinner. The di Caprio and Russel Crowe, movie, Body of Lies, was on Shaw pay per view. It had to be good for me to stay awake till the end. Every muscle ached and I proposed marriage to my bed not for the first time after mechanical work.

I was up early this morning praying that I'd not have any great ideas today thankful for the rain and understanding with new appreciation the Buddhist idea of 'no mind'. When I can stand up straight and walk without slanting sideways, and lift my arms without grimacing, I'm going to get over to my handy male friends and wait till one foolishly asks, 'what did you do yesterday,". Then I'll kind of let it slip like it was nothing, "Saturday was sunny, so I got the Harley running, drove over to the boat, got the dinghy together, the yamaha outboard running, took the dinghty for a spin and then got the big boat's Yanmar diesel engine running before calling it a day. What about you?" (I won't really care what they did.)

That one line was code that only an elite secret mechanic's society could understand. Outsiders wouldn't have a clue. These other friends of mine who have intimate relationships with machines would look at me for a long time. Then one would say with respect, "You must hurt today, eh". "Yea," I'd have to admit it. Then we'd all laugh knowing respect isn't something that can be bought.

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