Lying on cold concrete, hands stained with grease, knuckles torn and saturated with grit, the world melts away from me. There is nothing except the delicate linkages between parts. I breathe out, wipe my hands against my shirt, and lie still as my mind runs the course of the engine, hunting for the flaw which must be isolated and corrected. When found, my mind shall send the body after it, twisting with wrench and socket, examining, confirming, and altering. This is the total sum of being human. This is a perfect circle. From mind to body to mind, thought and action with single, isolated purpose. Thought takes concrete shape in the form of a moving wrench, and cold steel biting into my hand. Arms coated with grease feels more real, more physical, and has more substance than almost any other sensation. Nothing touches me. Heady concerns of success and failure, grades and politics and philosophy, all fall before the earnest and simple reality of a misfiring cylinder. Frustration, anger, sadness, none of these things exist in the gap of a sparkplug. Only a brief flash of electricity here, and a muffled explosion. The strobe of the timing light is regular, predicatble, precise, a symbol of competence. Within this frame of steel, all things fall into place, or should, and it is my drive to see that they do so. That is why I like my old car that always breaks down.

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