Mechanics & Artists
I’m a mechanic, at heart I mean. Does everyone divide the world and everything in it into two parts? Or is it only mechanics that do this? I have dozens of this or that identities for the world around me and the people in it. Ons and offs, ups and downs, yes or no. To a mechanic it either works or it doesn’t. You can fix it or you can’t, they make the part or you have to buy a new one. It’s a simple and survivable existence.
Artists on the other hand, make up the rest of the world. Talk about you shades of grey, heck there are shades of green, red, blue, brown, and colors we can’t even see. Artists, I imagine, see the whole palette in all its infinite, analog glory. Sadly that experience is denied to the mechanics of the world. I can only understand this majesty as two hundred fifty-six million discrete visible color representations and the various wavelengths which occupy the extremes at either end of the spectrum. You know the stuff bats, and dogs, insects and whatever perceive.
I’m a good mechanic! Seriously, I can fix stuff. If it’s busted, I’m your guy! That wasn’t always true naturally. When I was a kid I just took stuff apart, I had no idea how to put it back together again. Took a couple trips over dad’s knee before we reached a mutual agreement. I’d ask him before taking something apart and he would bring stuff that was already broke for me to dissect. That arrangement solved one problem for me, didn’t stop me from getting caught with a pack of his smokes a few years later. That’s a story for another time. Like any natural talent it needs to be educated, apprenticed, polished and honed before calling it a skill.
What most amazes and, I guess, intimidates me about artist is the way in which art just seems to flow from their fingers. I can barely draw stick figures but I’ve watched a girl pencil sketch a face in minutes so realistic that I instantly understood the belief in the supernatural. Witchcraft! That’s the only possible explanation. Yet by similar reasoning I sometimes see that same look of concerned amazement from an artist when I change a flat tire in under six minutes or pair my Bluetooth with the light switch. Dark and possibly evil magic at work there no doubt.
I try to be artistic, the aforementioned stick figures, I’ve pick up a guitar more times than I can count and put it back down again. I can play the notes but only one at a time as I look from the sheet to the fret then the finger then the string. They are in the right order but don’t really sound anything like music at all. I dance like no one is watching, mostly because when I dance people tend to look away. I sing with enthusiasm but with little regard for pitch, timing, or the auditory sensibilities of those around me. Even at the loudest concert someone within a few seats of me will inevitably turn and glance with disdain in my direction.
Last week something wasn’t working in the building I attend to. It wasn’t my equipment specifically but as I connect to something called the safety circuit I was called for a consult. The guy whose equipment it was had correctly identified that my safety contact was not engaged. I was the one however who on looking carefully at his equipment determined that in fact none of the safety circuit contacts were engaged at all. I laid hands upon the transformer and invoked an ancient spell which summoned power from the holy generators and restored life to the air handler unit. Blessed be the great and powerful mechanic, for when no air is conditioned and moved about inside a large building the atmosphere becomes stagnant and befouled. Nobody wants that! Summon a Magician! I appear, sometime just after a puff of smoke actually. “How may I serve your Excellence?”
So be well all you artists of the planet. Paint your pictures, sing your perfect rounded notes, solo in the spotlight with your eyes closed and head cocked back. I’ll not begrudge your talent, however supernatural it appears to me. Someday, somewhere, by the shoulder of some lonely highway a radiator hose will burst and from the smoke will appear a man with magic in his hand. Silver in tone and unscrolled with the sacred incantation, “Consarned-LilleSumnoBish-GollDand-Oww-Shutthedoor-dotdotdot…!! Y’all gonna wanna get that looked at next service station yuh pass, but that’ll hold ‘er fer awhile. Good Luck! "