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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mr. Lucky

It happened again for the second time in thirty years, so I thought I’d capture the essence of it in words. I’m sitting at the office desk completing the billing for people due in to pick up their cars. A far off sound of a nonstop horn perks up my ears. It then gets louder, and louder, and louder, as the cursed vehicle owner approaches my neighborhood. I’m already mouthing the ‘please Lord, don’t let it stop here’ mantra, with hands clasped earnestly in front of me. I don’t deserve to have my prayers answered, and the next few minutes provide proof of my suspicion, as the blaring horns pull up into my shop. For those of you not familiar with the dual blasts of vehicle horns when the horn relay jams, it can wipe out conscious thought, as the sound swallows the world.

I stood up from my desk, willing my body to walk out the office door, in the face of gale force sound waves. The owner of the decibel monster launched out of her driver’s seat as if she were a Cruise missile. I could tell immediately the woman had assumed she would escape the sound by getting out of the car. The reality nearly dropped her, as having driven into the shop, the noise multiplied inside my sound chamber repair garage. The woman, dressed in blue sweat-suit, stood near the driver’s side fender, her fists clasped tightly at her chest, elbows in, and vibrating in harmony to the horns. She looked like the guy in the original horror movie, The Fly, where at the end of the movie the detective sees the head of a man and body of a fly trapped in spider webbing, screaming in tiny voice: ‘hep me! hep me!’

Every successful professional mechanic is a yoga expert, although probably very few of us practice the art anywhere but at work. I walked by the woman, frozen now except for the vibrations, and opened her door, reaching in and popping the hood. The car is a 1985 Chevy Caprice. My yoga training, which stabbed through the noise, kept me from running to the front of the car, and searching in vain for an external hood release. Moving again around the woman in a now universe of sound, complete with exploding planets, I felt and found the catch for releasing the hood to the up position. Here, the sound caressed me, and I stood at the precipice of sound, the Lord of sound, the… my training kicked in once again. I reached down to the right and plucked the electrical connector to the horn on my right, and half a universe died at my hand. The other horn begged in my head like Hal the computer in 2001 Space Odyssey. I was relentless. With another grasp and pull, the universe of sound ruptured, transforming instantly into the sounds of silence. The woman and I smiled at each other, fellow survivors of a cataclysmic event, not wanting to ruin the deafening silence with vocal words. After a few moments of soundless euphoria, the reality of East Oakland chimed in gently around us. I closed the hood.

“Thank you doesn’t seem enough,” the woman said breathlessly, breathless from her horn experience, not me; which was just as well, because she was at least my age, and I already have one of those at home. :)

You could give me a hundred dollars, I considered silently, but instead I told her:

“If you decide to fix the horns, give me a call,” I said, handing her a card. “Just out of curiosity, what brought you here to my shop?”

“Pure luck,” she sighed, getting into the driver’s seat. “The sound was driving me insane.”

Pure luck, huh? I thought watching her back out of the shop. Yea, that’s me, Mr. Lucky. :)


raine said...

You, sir, are a gentleman.

BernardL said...

It was self defense, Raine; and funny, once I was writing about it instead of doing it. :)

December Quinn said...

Agree with Raine.

BernardL said...

Thanks, D, I really like your new picture.