Projects. We all have them. In some reach of your mind right now, you are probably thinking about starting one even though the last one has not yet been completed. Perhaps you are inspired by some social media website or application on your phone. It shows a photo of your project, taken by the likes of Annie Leibowitz, perfect lighting, sunset over mountains, or the blue light on the ocean shore. There sits the project of your dreams in full color. So easy. You can do that. You want that. You dream about that. It becomes an obsession, and you have become a drug addict, your drug is this project and any career, friends, family; they’re all causing you withdrawals with their daily distractions like actual paid work, conversations, or dinner. Yes, the mere act of feeding yourself has taken second fiddle to this obsession. Until you get weak and a headache and realize that food might actually be a better idea. Simply put, you will not be able to finish the project if you are dead.
By now, I imagine you have surmised we are not talking about the kind of projects that we are forced to do, like taxes, shoveling out the horse stall, or organizing your sock drawer. As each of these examples are certainly necessary projects at some stage of your life, if you work, own a horse farm, or have too many socks; they probably are not the kind to nurture mad obsessions. And if they are, perhaps you need to seek some new inspiration. What I am talking about are those inspiring projects, things that really touch and change your life or someone else’s life close to you.
Recently I began a project, which I alluded to in another article a few week’s back. I suppose my inspiration came from multitudes of sources, reading articles on line, watching too many Velocity / Discovery Channel TV shows, and generally just dreaming about my old truck and what it should be. What should it look like so that it suits, not only my personality, but my lifestyle? I blame my old landscaper for this problem. Because of him, and his obsession with my Jeep Wrangler, I ended up owning a 1952 Chevy Pickup. It was the right time in my life to have an old vintage automobile, and my wife and I just fell in love with it. Since then, it has had several projects.
First, well, that was an easy one. Keep it running! After being stranded in the middle of an intersection and having to have my father come tow me out of the street, it was obvious I was in for a long tedious task of figuring our the ancient wiring and getting rid of the old generator for a more reliable alternator. Then, the second obsession, driven by the fact that the old carburetor became a leaking sieve for fuel, caused me to remove and upgrade the entire fuel, intake, and exhaust components. That was two months of learning, cussing, and numerous injuries. It also meant that I purchased just about every tool Lowe’s sold, including a new tool box on wheels. Half my garage is now storage for all the tools. Organizing these will be another project, but not one that I will obsess over.
Now, to where I am today. I am obsessed with turning our ’52 Chevy, named ‘Tilly’, into something completely new. Something that would certainly irritate the purest of the car world, and cause expert car builders to shake their heads in shame. But I don’t care, it’s my project. I have dreams at night of silver metal, glistening in the sunlight. I hear the exhaust purr as I slam my foot on the pedal. I see us cruising the country roads, making head’s turn, farmer’s standing in their fields brandishing pitch forks just gawking as we cruise down the road.
So, what do I do on a holiday, a day that our country celebrates its independence? I take full advantage that work will not call. My wife is occupied with her own projects. The dogs are content to gaze out the window. The neighbors are planning their Bar-B-Q’s or evening fireworks. Friends are gathering at the airfield for the yearly festivities. And I set out to spend seven straight hours grinding, sanding, polishing, washing, sanding, grinding, and washing again. I change tires, unbolt and remove fenders, sand and grind, then wash, polish and bolt them back on. I order parts on line. I sweat away ten pounds of lethargy from the work week. I see my vision, and I use the grinder to shape it, shooting off my own fireworks while listening to good tunes on the radio.
I’m obsessed with my project, and I apologize to no one.