June 25, 2009

He's On MY Front Page

I've been busy with Boy Scouts.

I also had a friend die earlier this week... 40 years old, unexpected; we're devastated.

I'm in a far better place today than I was on Tuesday. I was a mess on Tuesday.

Today I guess I'm more of the mindset, "Why does our society give a crap that Michael Jackson died? Why is he on the front page?"

My friend belongs on the front page.

My friend deserves the mourning.

Not some celebrity.

My friend was my mechanic. I think some of you will remember when I switched mechanics, switching to a shop that is owned by a friend of my husband's, a woman.

Her main mechanic has been my husband's mechanic for 20 years... we came to her shop when he moved over from Toyota... his specialty, with his niche being my husband's brand of car.

He's the guy that rebuilt my husband's car after it was totalled four years ago.

I switched to him four years ago, initially being afraid of him. Odd... I remember my husband saying, 'Hey, while you're down there getting your oil changed, ask him for a piece of tubing... it should look like this."

I came home and said, "I didn't ask. I am afraid of him. I think he's kind of moody and I didn't want to annoy him."

My husband laughed and shook his head.

He'd quietly come into the office, tell the boss lady what was up with my car, hand her my keys and walk out. Finally, I just engaged him. He came in, had my keys in his hand and I flat asked HIM the questions.

He started addressing me... and over time, I got to know him, and... to care deeply for him, as my husband did.

I looked at him like a younger brother.

I would spend my time with him under the hood of my car. He'd look at something and explain it to me. He'd hook some electronic reader up, sit in the front seat, I'd sit shotgun, and we'd talk about life as he did his testing.

A few months ago, he was listening to something, trying to figure out what was wrong with my motor, when I grabbed his flashlight and some extra tool and said, "I'm here. Use me. Tell me where to point the light" as he'd been juggling all the crap.

He grinned and said it was kind of his job and I told him I knew it, but hey, if I was offering to help, to take me up on it. So I handed him what he needed and held the light, and we laughed and talked as he worked on my car.

About a year ago, we were standing in the parking lot talking. Boss Lady was there and I said, "We gotta get this car to 300,000 miles. Bones will be leaving the house then and I am NOT buying another mini-van. We have to make this one last..."

My mechanic grinned and said, "So, what're you going to buy after you get rid of this?"

I sat there for a moment and replied, "A car that seats ONE. I'm not haulin' anyone anywhere ever again, after he leaves home. No more equipment, no more kids... just me. A car that seats ONE."

He busted out laughing and he said, "Well, you know they don't make one seated cars..." and then he continued, "Tell you what, you find yourself a nice little sporty two seater, and I'll pull out the passenger seat and I'll put in a potted plant for you."

And so that was our running joke... I have a bit more than 150K miles on my car until potted plant time. We were both joking... yet not. I had every intent of showing up to the shop in a two seated car with a big potted plant in the passenger seat, when Bones left home and I turned in the asexual Mom-mobile.

He used to tease me... I put so many miles on my car, every time he'd change the oil I'd make some sort of crack comment like, "OK! See you in 6 weeks!"

Last time I had my oil changed, on the little oil change sticker where it asked for the date for the next oil change, he penciled in 7 days later.

But mostly? He looked after me. I had an alternator problem in my car a few months ago. We were listening to it, hearing it go bad over time.

He always listened to me. If I came in and said, "My motor is making this clicking noise and it's coming from here..." He'd drop everything to listen... and when it wasn't reproduced, he never treated me like I was out of my mind.

He always believed me and treated me like I was smart.

And so we sat over my motor, listening to the bearing go bad on the alternator. It was suggested by someone that I just let the alternator go bad and then replace it when it finally gave up the ghost.

I sat there not saying anything as the person walked away. My mechanic looked at me and finally broke the silence. He said, "Bou, I can't let you wait until it quits working. I need to replace it. I'll worry about you. I'll worry about where you'll be when it finally dies. Let me replace it."

"I'll worry about you"

How many mechanics say that to their customers... and mean it?

He was the guy I went to before every long trip. Before every Southern Tour... I'd take my vehicle to him to go over. I knew I was safe if he gave it the once or twice over.

He was going to get me to 300,000 miles.

He was going to put a potted plant in my car.

He was 40.

And he deserves to be on the front page of our local paper because he was a good guy and deserving of public mourning.

In my eyes.

I miss him.


Posted by Boudicca at June 25, 2009 10:54 PM

I'm sorry Bou!

Posted by: PeggyU at June 26, 2009 12:58 AM

My condolences on the loss of your friend. Thank you for sharing your history and memories of him. I'll be thinking of you and your mechanic friend when it comes time to replace my fourteen year old mini van.

Posted by: cin at June 26, 2009 01:28 AM

I'm so sorry for your loss; your friend sounds like a great guy.

And I heartily concur - he needs to be feted on the front page, not MJ. Ugh. Things seem so backward sometimes.


Posted by: Pam at June 26, 2009 06:25 AM

We have the same mechanic/friend. Boss lady called to tell us. He was always there for you weekend, night or day. Our Supras and cars won't be same. He would have loved and laughed at this posting! :(

Posted by: Julia at June 26, 2009 06:59 AM

Too often the folks who quietly make the world a better place pass without much notice. So let show biz pay tribute to its pedophile freak; we join you in mourning a great man who actually cared.

Posted by: Bob at June 26, 2009 07:23 AM


Posted by: Quality Weenie at June 26, 2009 07:54 AM

Jackson and Fawcett were on today's front page because millions of people brought them into their homes via TV and CDs and loved their work. They feel like they lost a friend.

It's a damn shame your mechanic friend couldn't get the same exposure. Most folks DREAM of knowning someone like that who is both a good friend and good worker. It's their loss that they didn't know him.

Posted by: George P at June 26, 2009 08:58 AM

Now we all know him a little bit too. I had tears in my eyes reading about him. When a celebrity dies, no matter how much front page they get - it seldom moves me.

My condolences to his family and all his friends. He was one hell of a guy. The world is a far poorer place because he's gone.

Posted by: Teresa at June 26, 2009 10:28 AM

I am so sorry Bou. So sorry.

Posted by: oddybobo at June 26, 2009 11:26 AM

Bou - sending you cyber hugs. So sorry about your loss.

Posted by: Kris, in New England at June 26, 2009 12:04 PM

Please let me add my condolences. And to say that I know exactly how much you trusted him because I have a mechanic that worries about me, too.

Posted by: Victoria at June 26, 2009 12:42 PM

My condolences...he sounds like a real, down-to-earth guy. The kind of guy that makes other lives better by just being himself.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at June 26, 2009 05:01 PM

So very sorry to hear.

Posted by: Mike D. at June 26, 2009 08:17 PM

So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. He was the same age as I, good motivation for me to pay a little better attention to my health. And he sounds like exactly the kind of person we should be remembering right now, rather than these media-crazed celebrities.

Posted by: diamond dave at June 27, 2009 09:56 AM

My condolences. Bob expressed my thoughts as well.

Posted by: jck at June 27, 2009 07:28 PM

Half the folks in my little country church think I'm wierd, the other half thinks I have a very active cybersex life but they are getting used to me adding blog friends and families to the prayer list.

I figure if He is really all knowing He knows who Bou's mechanic and Oddyboobo's sister is. And if He isn't, nobody has really lost anything. Well, except that few of my church folks really understand blogs but, if everybody thinks I wierd, they won't ask much of me.

Posted by: Peter at June 28, 2009 01:47 AM