YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT. BUT YOU MUST TRY
“AND DON’T TELL YOURSELF YOU DON’T ‘GET’ GEARBOXES. THAT’S A COP OUT”
Want to be a better mechanic? Me too. Most mechanics probably want to be better mechanics. I remember the first time I took the tools to a bike. My father, an air artificer in the Fleet Air Arm – a fighter aeroplane mechanic in other words – then later a head of engineering for Michelin, knew how to twirl a spanner. If I thought I could lean on his talents in my teenage days, I was wrong.
“You know where the tools are, you’ve got your manual, I’ll be indoors reading the paper,” he said. “If you need me – and only if you need me – you know where to find me. Read the manual, think about what you’re doing then take your time doing it.” I got the message. He wasn’t being mean, he didn’t even want to read the paper – he knew it would be better for me to find my own way. After all, this was a man who built his own car in the three years before he was old enough to drive. All I had to do right then was change my bike’s spark plugs.
And as the maintenance tasks became ever more complex I managed them as my confidence grew. If I were ever truly stuck Dad would step in with helpful advice but never took the job over from from me. I learned the value of patience – a rushed job is usually botched – I learned that five, 10 or more minutes assessing a problem and thinking about its solution could save many hours and pounds later on.
The truth is we can all be better mechanics. In the absence of anyone telling us we can do it, we need to tell ourselves we are capable. And we are, even with unfamiliar tasks, provided we take a step back, think the job through, lift the right tools and refuse to be put off. And don’t tell yourself you don’t ‘get’ gearboxes, electrics or whatever. That’s a cop out. If I can get them, you can. I still want to be a better mechanic though. Alan Seeley (Of Scotland)
Read it and weep. Then read it again and begin to slowly understand. It works