Wednesday, February 15, 2006

going on rounds

An evening early this week. My friend comes over and tells me about his rotten day. Okay, I want to hear about it. I want to be the kind of friend who can listen. So tell me.

I'll talk, but will you go on rounds with me? I’ve been stuck in a room with mean lawyers all day, I’ve got my work rounds still ahead.
Sure. Take me to the dark alleys off of rural roads, where men work late into the night. I want to see these places of metals and dim light.

Sun Prairie. We'll drive to Sun Prairie. I want Mike to balance xxxxxxxx..

I could never repeat what Mike is balancing, not because it’s dirty (though if grease = dirt to you then it’s plenty dirty) but because my mind cannot take in things that spin and make vintage motorcycles move forward. Indeed, as my friend takes apart what has to be some component of the spinning hickey of the clutch (flywheel, Nina, it's called a flywheel) I wonder why it has to have ten separate pieces to it. Like, why can’t it be just one?

Mike the machinist is brilliant in this, that I can tell. He has one of only a couple balancing machines in this county. Watching him drill out bits of metal to create a balanced doo-hickey is an exercise in patience. I want to say, oh let it go already. The thing will turn without that millimeter adjustment. But I know the two men in the shop would kill me if I offered this suggestion and since there are a lot of implements of death and torture within an arm's reach, I stay silent.

Designing tools, designing machines. Me, I take apart texts and opinions and oftentimes I have nothing to offer in their place. I design nothing but a thought process. Well, okay, I designed Ocean. But I am powerless to guide my hands to do anything out of the ordinary. Dabbling hands, I have dabbling hands that have strummed guitars and baked pastries and cultivated perennials.

And held a child.

And typed words and pressed shutter releases. Okay, I’m feeling better. But still, I am clueless about how most anything works and even more on how to improve our physical spaces. Completely clueless.

It’s a flywheel, Nina, it’s a flywheel.


Madison Feb 06 110

Madison Feb 06 115

Madison Feb 06 103