The lingering illusion of engineering a happy outcome

The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life. Part 3.

The lingering illusion of engineering a happy outcome.

“Contentment is happiness’ more practical sibling, you find him whenever you produced something that you felt pleased with.”

Pragmatism was the Mechanic’s magic.
He could pave over a rough patch with a bit of smooth-talking and a bottle of scotch he pulled from thin air.
We ended up completing many projects with sterling results.
It’s not to say there weren’t things I could’ve sorted out by myself, but I was still lucky to have had the Installation-Whisperer next to me during the sensitives phases within many installations.
Maybe I got spoiled by having such a formidable wing-man?

The Mechanic was a maverick, a ladies man, man’s man, and just that generally-likable guy.
One of those all-rounders that simply defy categorization and definition.
He had his enemies in the office.
Everyone does.
But somehow even they ended up respecting him at least, even though I’m pretty sure the ever-looming green-eyed monster was always present.

If you were stranded on a desert island The Mechanic would’ve been the ally you wanted.
And of course, some offices are analogous to some of the most forlorn desert islands out there.
Nonetheless, this is the guy who always ran every scheme conceivable, and somehow managed to have his finger squarely on the pulse of everything.
When he ran some side-hustles inside the office nobody could help but notice.
Even the managers knew that reprimanding him for his unorthodox methods would serve no purpose— Because he always got the job done!
You often saw him outside.
At times he succumbed to chain-smoking.
He was a perfect office-slob.
Occasionally some parts of his projects lapsed.
Often his lewd jokes verged on boundaries being overstepped.
And then just when you thought he had finally taken things too far his boyish mustached-grin somehow made people forgive him for every scarlet sin and transgression.

But even the golden age of a demi-god can be transient.
Ultimately even The Mechanic couldn’t withstand the deluge of a river that serves no master except the inevitable pull towards an ocean.
And after the rainy season that slow meander transforms into a raging wall of water that sweeps away someone’s world indiscriminately— Oblivious about collateral damage and who’s to bless, or who’s to blame— It takes everything!

(To be continued of course…)

Read Part 2.

The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life. Part 2 – Day One

The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life. Part 2.

Day One

I first met the Mechanic when I went for a job interview at the company where he suffered through the slow suicide of a day job.
I couldn’t help but notice a big garrulous man smoking outside.
He had a portly girth, a mullet, and mustache straight out of a 70s movie but somehow the whole package seemed just right.
The Feng Shui of his appearance defied logic, but still created a harmonious impression.
He was the center of a very lively debate.
I took in the whole scenario for a few brief moments while I straightened my tie before heading up to reception.
“It seems the guys who work here are happy enough,” I thought while I signed the visitor’s register.

Later that morning I went outside to soak up a bit of sunshine.
Not much happened during my first day on the job.
While a technician was setting up my computer and network credentials I figured it would be a good time to assess the lie of the land.

The Mechanic was outside.
He religiously adhered to his smoke-breaks I later learned.
Neither Hell nor torrential downpours could separate him from his
unfiltered guilty pleasure.
His big hand engulfed mine.

He extended a burly forearm terminating in a large calloused hand.
I found it strangely refreshing that someone with hands as big as his didn’t automatically feel a necessity to crush someone else’s.
Not that my grip was weak by any standard, but I knew when I encountered a superior adversary.

“Look at this!”
The Mechanic pointed at the empty parking bays.
“Every single one of them is decorated by a Rorschach pattern of spilled motor oil”.
I soon learned the big guy observed everything.
“All cars leak oil at some stage. Nobody knows whether it was an overpriced sports-car or a busted Beetle that contributed to these stains.”

One of the patterns in a parking bay close to us resembled a humpback whale.
“We all make a mess on occasion, but it’s much better to leave a failed project or missed deadline behind than someone you wronged!”
The Mechanic flicked his cigarette but into a shrub.
“That’s profound,” he chuckled.
“But it’s true!”
“When you look back at your mistakes 5 years from now you’ll notice how they eventually flowed into a homogenous stream where a manager’s accounting glitch often becomes indiscernible from another employee’s filing error. ”
We could’ve exhausted that train of thought much more.
But our break was over.

I processed the gist of what he said, even though he didn’t need to say it in so many words.
Maybe it could even have been construed as a friendly, but thinly veiled warning.
“Don’t screw someone over just for the sake of looking good in this company!”

(To be continued of course…)

Read Part 1.

The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life. Part 1 – Soul Food

The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life. Part 1

Soul food

“Every explanation warrants a good story, but good stories are so easily watered-down by explanations!”

The Mechanic was often masterfully creative when it came down to creating quotable quotes.
Quotes are great in the sense that they often defy explanation, seeing that interpretation often finds a clever way of supplanting the need for banal clarifications.

These memoirs of sorts will therefore not strive to offer any explanations, but they’ll merely serve as a preamble to how I rediscovered “The unquestioned mechanic’s easy guidelines for fine-tuning a life!”
So without further ado, before the disclaimer about “not explaining” morphs into a diatribe that defeats its purpose, let me carry on with this story.

When I ran into The Mechanic again after so many years he was neither a mechanic nor a poet but a soulful blues guitarist.
He was excellent, and for an instant, I pictured him on stage, playing to a packed stadium.
But the yacht club within a landlocked African country was as good a venue as anything else.
The setting was surreal.
Bamboo torches cast long shadows.
Each dark splotch in between the islands of light held the promise of harboring a wild creature of sorts.

I didn’t recognize the first song the band played.
And it didn’t matter.
It was every song I’ve never heard and yet every note felt familiar.
The Mechanic channeled the gods of rock with the ease of confident indifference.
Maybe the local beers added to my overall perception of the set, but that was also fine.
The lead vocalist was a beautiful big woman who proved to be a dead ringer for Tracy Chapman.
Between songs, I heard sounds from the pub.
Glasses, utensils and indistinct chatter.
The smell of fried chicken reminded me of how hungry I was.

The band wrapped up a brooding song from the 70s.
The Mechanic put down the guitar and walked over to come and talk to me.

I recalled a discussion we had in a previous lifetime and a thousand miles behind us.
“You were born with a soundtrack etched into your very being, and you are fortunate whenever you stumble across an artist who manages to articulate the lyrics and melodies associated with your sweetest moments of deja vu.”

(To be continued of course…)

Why is it that traveling doesn’t automatically broaden your horizons?

Did that parcel you sent to Equatorial Guinea miraculously “broaden its horizons?”
Of course not?
It’s just a wooden box containing some or other obscure artifact.

So why would you transform into a better, more enlightened version of yourself if you move your body to another place on the globe?
You won’t change a bit.
Not unless you’re open-minded and receptive to new experiences.

I’ve been on trips with seemingly jaded people who were more concerned with their phones than the spectacular scenery they were exposed to.
Perhaps we can give them some benefit of the doubt.
Maybe they’ve been “there” before.

On every trip, the mind needs to accompany the body.
If you can manage to find something enjoyable within the bland construct of your daily commute imagine how many new worlds will unfold before your eyes— On the day that you take your body someplace new!