Pleasant surprises and simplicity…
I’m going to start today just celebrating, in a simple way, the little victories.
It’s almost nauseatingly mundane, but it has to do with good people doing the right thing.
We had a little accident in the garage some time ago. Someone moving about bumped into a box which in turn bumped into a pipe which in turn tumbled and bounced, 1, 2, 3, on the fender of the car. The once clean, smooth, elegant line of the car now remember this moment, seemingly immortalized in the little trifecta of blemish.
As things stand I’m looking to perhaps let the car out on a sharing service to generate some income with it, or ultimately consider selling the vehicle. These little blemish cramped the style of either of those options, not majorly, but unfortunately; as well in the eventuality that the car stays in my service, while the battle scars of life, it’s always nicer to have nice things stay nice. 😉
So, weeks ago, dents in hand, I was visiting the Tesla service center for an annual checkup and they referred me to a local auto body place with a spotless reputation. I’m going to mention Amato’s Auto Body here by name because I think the owner, Paul Amato, earned this with me, as I suspect he does every day with every customer he comes in contact with.
Some time later I managed to get it on my schedule, and theirs to drop in and estimate the repair. Caitlin and I made it a Friday morning up the way to the shop to see what was what. The vehicle is not cheap, and Paul – though his clientele has recently transferred to about 80% Tesla – has been mostly working on vehicles valued to the upside of $100,000 for the better part of 40 years now. I was braced for a repair price tag to match.
To my delight, Paul, who stepped in to my case just casually after we struck up a conversation in the waiting room, suggested that the likely repair necessary could be done at my home, and by a fellow his shop regularly contracts with to do repair in-house for them. “Call Randy” he said, “you can probably work directly with him on this, and if necessary to pull the body panel, you can just arrange to bring it back in here and have it done on site.”
Leaving the car in the shop for three days to have the panel removed, the repairs done, and the panel reinstalled, I anticipated would probably start somewhere in the high hundreds to low thousands to do the work. Having the work done at home, I expected would forgo the inconvenience of leaving the car, and possibly cost a bit less.
I thanked Paul and called Randy.
The process with Randy was not as smooth as I had hoped. We made one appointment, and he had to cancel at the last minute due to health complications. Apparently he was having the same kind of month I was having – with obstacles ready and waiting. It took a few weeks but he was back online, hard luck still in play, but happy to make the appointment nonetheless.
This morning Randy showed up at the house, still in pain but smiling and friendly; bringing with him a sense of easy country charm earned from living just east of town where it’s quiet and dark at night.
He took a look at the job and smiled, it would be “no problem” he said. Of course, he mentioned, if it were in the shop it would be easier to get to, but he had confidence he could work with what he had. In our conversation, I learned that Randy had just kind of fallen into this work, but 20 some years ago now and it suited his inclination to work with his hands and meet hard problems with a careful eye and to perfection.
Paul’s reputation as I mentioned is stellar, and Randy’s by extension had come with that quality. I was starting to see how Randy had earned his reputation as well.
We chatted a bit more as he collected his tools and I learned that he lived with horses and dogs and, I assumed, a wife, in the hills to the east. Quiet desert mountain country, or at least arid, Randy had grown quite comfortable with the cold evenings, critters, and dark nights. It was a comfort just to be in his presence.
I thanked him and told him I was turning my attention to a meeting I had on the calendar, but just to come through the door if he had any need or concerns. Sipping the last few slips of coffee, I wheeled about and to my desk for a long anticipated conversation with my friend Geoff who has been bouncing between winter health and busy work schedules for the last three weeks while we’ve angled to get something on the calendar.
Randy worked much faster than I expected and was gone when I finished 90 minutes with Geoff. Our communion with sweet, Geoff and I left me with a sense of nourishment having ranged from simple personal details of snow falling outside the windows of his Seattle home, to the transcendent timeless with questions of how to simply be, and yet in-service, to this moment in human evolution. I’ll hope to revisit this conversation, not just with Geoff, but in these pages as well in future posts, but again I digress.
Coming away from our conversation I learned that Randy had finished and left already. The charge Eleña told me, $150, seemed like it couldn’t have been any lower while remaining respectful to the artisan who had done the work. Artisan indeed, when I went to inspect the vehicle I really wasn’t prepared for the level of exquisite detail. No trace. Inspected from 10 inches, first in the shade of the garage, and then in the full sun, and then again in the full sun with polarized sunglasses, there was no trace of the injury, nor the repair.
With the grace of an angel, he had come and gone, warming hearts and bringing smiles, and leaving goodness in his wake. I sent along a text to thank him as I sat there in the driveway, just enjoying the sunshine, warmth, and good fortune of this early February day. I included the phone number to our friends at the Osteopathic Center San Diego in hopes that they might be able to do him some good, and only mention this here in the spirit of prayer for his health, well-being, and long life.
It’s the little victories… Today, it was easy rising, a good meditation, good fortune in meeting kind members of the community, good and heartfelt conversation with a friend, the first workout I’ve had in a while, and the privilege and opportunity to labor for others. May all beings have good fortune. May all beings be well and happy.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…