with Brandi the Rookette
So I am sitting here on my couch thinkingwhat tidbits of wisdom do I really have to offer our faithful IZook readers this month? I found myself thinking back to a conversation I had with Murph last week. We were sitting at Khaki Jacks, one of our favorite restaurants here in the huge metropolis that is Peoria, IL, where they serve the best ostrich burger around. Or anywhere, best I can figure. We were making a list of everything that must be done to my truck in the next couple of months. I found myself getting very overwhelmed. Overwhelmed to the point where I wasnt even excited anymore, just tense. You see, I am a bit of a perfectionist. It is hard for me to find myself in unfamiliar territory. Every discussion about my truck brought up more evidence that I have no idea what I am doing. I was beginning to think oh forget it, I will never understand this stuff, there is just too much to learn. I began to whine, as I often do when I am feeling defeated. Murph sat me down and put it all in perspective for me.
How long have you been doing this? he asked.
A few months I replied.
Interesting. I have been working on cars for a good 15 years and there are still things I dont understand. How can you possibly expect yourself to know it all? When we got home he showed me his battered, tattered, and well used copy of the FSM* (available from figmo at www.roadlessgear.com) and explained this is so well used because I do NOT know much, so I look it up in here!
Editors Note* Factory Service Manual
He proceeded to point out to me all the things I do know how to do.
He reminded me of the day I took apart the front axles when we were rebuilding his truck. I had no idea what I was doing, but I followed his instructions and before I knew it I had completed a project! Later on in the rebuild I had to do it again.this time I was able to do the whole thing mostly by myself. He had to remind me of a few details, but that is to be expected when you have only done something once. Also, reassembly was easy because I put the parts on a piece of plywood in order so Id know how they went back together.
He also reminded me of my first day on the trails. The first time I got to the top of a big steep hill I thought oh hell no, there is no way I can do this. But I did, with the help of BillyBob as my spotter, and Murph off to the side videotaping of course. I made it down that hill with very little trouble. And you know what? The next hill I came to.I was a little more confident. Dont get me wrong, I was still terrified. But each time it got a little easier. Sure I was only on the rookie trail, but so what? You have to start somewhere.
The more he talked the more I realized that he was right. I cant be expected to understand everything about the inner workings of a complex automobile in just a couple of months. The important thing is to take it one step at a time. Tackle one issue at a time, and dont expect yourself not to make mistakes. You will make mistakes. Learn from them. You dont know what you are capable of until you try.
That is going to be my mission with these articles, I think. Each time I learn something new, Ill try to break it down into tender moist bite-size bits we all can understand.