Everything is broken - Faine 444

By: Jon Faine

Presented by

jon faine jon faine

My foot has turned black, as has my mood

A wet and cold winters day. Perfect shed time. The football is on the radio, the kettle is on the boil, and I am ready to get heaps of stuff done.

I start with the wooden supports for the 1926 Citroen frame. I cut some timber and walk across to the belt and disc sander on the other bench. I reach across, turn it on, and as soon as it spins there is a violent metal on metal sound. Clearly it is ripping itself to shreds somewhere inside. I rush to turn it off, cutting the power and knocking over my tea cup in my haste.

The tea spills over the bench. In my clumsy move and in attempting to catch the tea mug I knock the dust bag throat out of its vent instead. The dust balloons everywhere.

I cough and sneeze as the dust clogs my nose and lungs. I stagger across to the compressor to grab the air hose and intend to use it to clear the debris. The nozzle comes off the hose. Just as I reach to secure it back where it belongs, the soft white metal that forms the outlet connection disintegrates in my hand. The control valve has simply broken off, leaving the compressor gushing air uncontrollably from the tank.

I turn the compressor off at the wall and pull the plug out. As I assess the damage, still sneezing and with my glasses now fogging up, I stub my toe on the base of the metal stand.


Wounded and now paranoid and convinced that I am cursed, I gather some basic tools to try to repair the compressor. The biggest adjustable shifter falls off the large nail it hooks onto above the workbench and falls the half a metre from the rack. It lands heavily on the only glass object within cooee, and smashes a precious and irreplaceable gauge that I bought on prewarcars.com a few years ago. It is the only fragile object sitting anywhere on the workbench.

There is nothing else that could be damaged no matter where the shifter landed on the entire expanse of the work bench. But somehow the shifter found that gauge, which was patiently sitting in a plastic tub waiting to be polished. The nearly one hundred year old glass is smashed and the alloy stepped bezel broken. I yell at myself in exasperation and raise a quizzical sceptical eye to the heavens in case there is some greater power laughing at me.

I decide to restart the day by administering urgent repairs to the compressor. Everything will get back on track in no time at all, just a slight hiccup to an otherwise productive day that is still young. I rifle through a drawer of old air tool bits looking for a suitable replacement for the broken valve. I find a suitable candidate, but it is old, crusty and unsightly. It fits the gaping open wound in the compressor outlet and with some filing of metal and tapping of a thread can be made to work. Better than throwing out an otherwise good compressor. I next decide to give it a lick of paint to make it presentable.

I wander across the garage to the shelf with all the paint tins and spray cans. The spray can of satin black engine and brake paint is at the back of the shelf. I reach up – too far – and grab it. I cannot quite reach and am too lazy to get a stepladder. As I bring it to the fore it knocks and dislodges a tin of rust guard off the edge of the shelf. The tin falls to the floor and manages to catch the sharp edge of a lamp attached to the shelf. As it hits the floor the lid comes off. The paint spills all over the floor and pools around my left shoe and foot.

I walk across to the old milk crate full of old shirts and towels to get some old rags to clean it up. I leave black paint footprints all across my concrete garage floor. I wipe up the spreading puddle of black paint with dozens of old towels and pillow slips and throw them into the bin. Only then I realise I have paint all through my shoe and into my sock. My left foot has turned black, as has my mood.

I go inside and turn on the TV.


From Unique Cars #444, Sep 2020

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