Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Satisfying Experience

I am on a quest this month to get my car through inspection. The problem is that my car smokes just a little bit, but they refuse to pass it if there is any smoke. The other problem is that there are only 3 inspection stations for a hundred thousand cars that go through each month. Every year so far, I fail the first time and have to scramble to get it fixed.

So, I failed earlier this month due to smoke. Then, Friday, my car could not exceed 45 mph on the interstate. I now have a new catalytic converter, and also found out my EGR valve was not working. So, I bought the valve and spent Sunday afternoon trying to get the old one off. After succeeding at taking it off, I noticed it was completely clogged and so was the tube coming into it. I decided not to put a $100 part on a bad tube, and I put the old part back on. Monday morning, I called my mechanic and he told me it would be okay to put the new one on, as long as I unclogged everything.

I promised Monica we would get our Halloween pumpkin Monday night, and I told her I could put the car part on in under 30 minutes. She set the kitchen timer and I went to work with my pride on the line. Twenty-five minutes later it was done AND it worked. The timer is still going on when I will actually put all my tools away. All this to say that I am not sure there are many satisfying experiences for me greater than the experience of successfully performing a car repair. I was going to say this is a man thing, but women experience the same thing.

I will tell you one type of repair that is rarely successful or satisfying: spouse repair. I don’t suggest anybody try to “repair” or “fix” a spouse. The real fulfillment for me has come when I made repairs in myself that changed my relationship with Monica—like learning how to like myself better. I sound like a 12-step meeting, I know, but I think that’s why it is important for me to have something I can fix, like a car repair every once in awhile.

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