Happiness comes in the little things. This weekend, happiness came in the form of tools. And the correct identification thereof.
You see, my brother and I worked on our cars on Saturday. We have built up quite a catalog of experience when it comes to “basic car maintenance” and “slightly less basic car repair.” [Mostly my fault, the Present Car is the most reliable thing I’ve ever owned…]. Ostensibly, some of these sessions have been frustrating. [“Oh. Great. That IS a previously unidentified oil leak that’s routinely killing the spark plugs…”] But, on the next level, these are actually some of our best times.
And, I’d like to think it’s not just because he’s slowly amassed an impressive collection of tools, in part due to my contributions. [Rein Family Mechanic Rules – The driver in need of mechanical assistance will supply or purchase: all parts needed, willing -if not intelligent- labor, any caffeinated beverages requested, and any tools required that are not currently owned.]
I could get emotional here, and talk about how it seems like an important piece of our bonding ritual. Or how much it meant this weekend that he could send me trotting off to one of the tool boxes and trust that I would know what he meant when he asked for the 1/2″ socket extension or C-Clamp, even though I’m not a mechanical person by nature. [Note: I really love that I know these things.] But I won’t. Instead, I’ll share something with you that I read him a few years ago, when I first came across it:
I love the work. Love to get in there. Love grease on my hands …. Love to see the whorls of my skin outlined in black, a topographical map in the palm of my hand. I like the feeling of lying on my back beneath the chassis trying to reach a rusted nut with the heat of the trouble light in my ear … I know how to work like a mechanic. I just don’t know what to do. At best, I am a good helper. A hander of tools.
-“Truck: A Love Story,” Michael Perry
As far as titles go, I’m good with Hander of Tools.