I haven't blogged in a week. Not because of my recent brain woe or anything similarly dramatic, but because I've been busy driving by our eBay trip to Wi-SCAH-nsin. Towards that end I've invested in a stereo for my favorite truck that, in fact, cost more than I paid for the truck. I also checked out the tow dolly situation with my favorite U-Haul guy, Josh (What? You don't have a favorite U-Haul guy?), and went to HowTo.com to learn how to remove the drive shaft of the eBay truck for transport. I've decided to check it out by removing my own drive shaft and see if it seems pretty straightforward. I even got up early to give it a whirl...but it's raining. A lot. Like Hemingway famously opined, "Why did the chicken cross the road? To die. Alone. In the rain."
So I can't practice my drive shaft removal project unless I'm willing to lay in the freezing mud (I'm not.), and I'm experiencing..surpise!...a little anxiety about that. Which brings me to my two topics for today:
1. I have a not-so-secret longing to go to Auto Mechanic's School.
2. The importance of the Drive-By to any new project.
Auto Mechanic's School
I love messing around with the truck, but my knowledge is limited to whatever I've fixed during it's previous disasters. What I would like is a comprehensive knowledge of how to repair all the structural parts. I know I can't ever do anything with the computer-driven stuff, but I ought to be able to replace a tie rod or a drive shaft or an oil pump without dragging out the book and studying up on it like it's open heart surgery or flying the airplane after the pilot dies.
My theory of everything is that other people do it, whatever "it" is...and I'm as smart as other people, ergo, I ought to be able to do it. In general this works well, however the theory goes a little awry when I'm confronted with the fact that I'm old, small and weak. Sometimes I go track down the Man Friend to loosen things, or the Heating & Cooling guys next door, who are both big and friendly. What I really need is a set of air tools. Then I'd be unstoppable. I'd have this whole place reduced to it's component pieces in minutes!
I want someone to go to Auto Mechanic's School with me so that I'll have someone to help me take shit apart and laugh with when it won't go back together, and someone who'll help deflect the stares of the burly 20 years old guys who'll wonder why their moms have invaded their sacred place. I'm taking applications for the position of Auto Mechanic School Buddy. If anyone is interested, the requirement for the position is pretty much anyone with a pulse. It doesn't even have to be a particularly strong pulse. If you can survive the class with me, you're hired.
My other topic for the day?
In our family lexicon, the drive-by is not the one most people think of, in which one can shoot the person or persons one deems most deserving of a bullet hole or two from the comfort of one's car, without needing to leave the car in the case of inclement weather or in the middle of a good NPR segment.
The drive-by in our family is part of the decision making sequence that follows:
1. Think about it.
2. Study up on it, usually via the Internet.
3. Drive by it.
4. Go in.
5. Process the experience, and whether it might ever be worth doing again.
The drive-by is a critical step, because it's the bridge between the intellectual part and the physical part. For instance, someone I know has a ticket (or two or three) for seatbelt violations. Since that particular someone has a fondness for driving around enjoying the Southern Illinois countryside, she has acquired her tickets in three different counties. Although I...uh...she has not actually paid the tickets, she has located all three courthouses and driven by them, thus paving the way for the day she actually enters them and pays the tickets.
See? The step between deciding to do something and actually doing it requires a careful examination of the outward appearance of the thing and psychological preparation for any potential pitfalls.
Using the Drive-By Method of decision making, one can make a variety of decisions that initially seem too ludicrous to consider, like driving to Wi-SCAH-nsin for an eBay truck, for instance. But without my drive shaft removal drive-by experience, I'll be anxious about whether I've brought the right tools, whether I'm strong enough for the project or whether it's beyond me for some other reason.
And you know what that means: extra processing at the end. And you, my Internets pals, will be the lucky recipients of that. Right here. Stay tuned.