Extract from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
disdainfully...a complete reversal from the waitress. I explain about the chain
guard and after a while he says, ``I'm not taking it off for you. You'll have to
take it off.''
I do this and show it to him, and he says, ``It's full of grease.''
I find a stick out in back under the spreading chestnut tree and scrape all the
grease into a trash barrel. From a distance he says, ``There's some solvent in
that pan over there.'' I see the flat pan and get out the remaining grease with
some leaves and the solvent.
When I show it to him he nods and slowly goes over and sets the regulators
for his gas torch. Then he looks at the tip and selects another one.
Absolutely no hurry. He picks up a steel filler rod and I wonder if he's
actually going to try to weld that thin metal. Sheet metal I don't weld. I braze
it with a brass rod. When I try to weld it I punch holes in it and then have to
patch them up with huge blobs of filler rod. ``Aren't you going to braze it?''
``No,'' he says. Talkative fellow.
He sparks the torch, and sets a tiny little blue flame and then, it's hard to
describe, actually dances the torch and the rod in separate little rhythms over
the thin sheet metal, the whole spot a uniform luminous orange-yellow,
dropping the torch and filler rod down at the exact right moment and then
removing them. No holes. You can hardly see the weld. ``That's beautiful,'' I
``One dollar,'' he says, without smiling. Then I catch a funny quizzical look
within his glance. Does he wonder if he's overcharged? No, something else -
- lonely, same as the waitress. Probably he thinks I'm bullshitting him. Who
appreciates work like this anymore?