Tuning and Retuning

I think there may be something wrong with me. As I stood at the tire centre the other morning, smelling rubber, oil and grease, talking on the phone with a colleague and generally being late for work, I wanted nothing more than to go into the garage and help the guy fix my tire. The conversation I was having, in part, it was important. But mostly it was a lot of paranoid, political, corporate rabble. In some Universe it would be considered work, but it did not feel like work. I was not tired or sore or sweating after the call. But I was bored, and itching to pick up tools or play with a grease gun. So the root of my satisfaction did not come from accomplishing anything with the verbal words of conversation, but watching my car get mended by a professional.

Oddly, every time I leave the service garage, I feel like my car is thankful and suddenly it will run better, go faster, and possibly do burnouts. There is something about organization and cleanliness that makes everything feel better. This is true about cars, but its also true about your house, your work desk, your manufacturing floor. Even when they re-pave the road in your neighborhood, suddenly you’re not living in the dregs, you’re transformed to high society and rolling on a cushion of air. Your car may be a Chevy, yet you feel like you’re riding in a Rolls.

I suppose what I am talking about is all regarding making something better, like new, or better than new. It’s re-arranging your home office to place a new piece of furniture, or ridding yourself of the old queen size bed for a new king. These recreations can happen on a grand scale, such as buying a new house or car. Even if the new purchase is fifty or more year’s old, its still new to you and for what ever reason, goes faster, has better storage, and much better at housing all your stuff. Friend’s of ours just purchased a new home. In fact, they’re probably in the throws of unpacking, stuffing their goods into new cubby holes, or arranging furniture just so in order to look out the new front window while enjoying a view that feels strange, yet familiar and comforting.

Recently at work, my team has had some down time to revamp the space that we occupy. It has taken several days, with some new people, but we have eliminated the old, thrown out the trash (quite literally) and really stuck into getting things clean, organized, and on task. It has felt invigorating. The place is a lot more fun to be in at the moment; we all smile a bit more while doing our mundane jobs, and we are a fair bit more careful about ruining the new shine on the department by adding clutter or leaving a mess behind at the end of the day.

This is more than just cleaning though. It’s tuning or retuning. Changing the scenery is nice, that’s why we travel and take vacations, but our home is still where we want to return. Only on return, sometimes you have to take the time to look at what you have, eliminate the dust, move the chair and vacuum the carpet, or just open the windows and let the breeze in. It’s change that makes things new again, bright and shiny; fun and alive.

At least, it is for me, and it certainly is for my wife. Her collection of vintage clothing and antiques would be nothing but piles of dust if it wasn’t for her constant attention to the details. She loves the displays, and rearranges things to suit her mood. Nothing is really static in her Vintage Wonderland, there is a life there and a heartbeat, no matter whether the piece is twenty or one hundred year’s old. We shouldn’t be afraid to make these changes either as this is what maintains our interest, increases our learning, and maintains our pride.

If you have an old car, give it a good wash, wax, and polish. Then take it for a drive with all the windows down instead of running the air conditioner. With your new house, discover the secret quirks whether they are the noises heard in the middle of the night when the heater kicks in or the fact that you have a light switch that appears to not work anything in the house.

For me, I was just as happy to have my old tire, slowly leaking with a nail puncture, patched and back on the road in a mere thirty minutes. I swear the car was happy again. It ran better, faster, more nimble. Change is, for me, the best constant of all.

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