Monday, August 10, 2009

Cleaning the Shop Part I

The Shop was a visual representation of how I imagined Dad’s brain was looking these days: messy, cluttered, and stacked with junk. The overhead florescent lights flickered to life as Christian flipped the switch, illuminating most of the large space. Essentially a double garage, the shop had been devoted exclusively to my father’s pursuits for as long as I could remember. It was his haven, his refuge: where he kept dusty pictures and files of plane diagrams; where he resuscitated the Fiat convertible he bought instead of the Corvette he really wanted; and where he played the radio turned to classical FM while applying epoxy to one of the wings of the experimental aircraft he was building. Ah yes, the aircraft.
There were plane parts everywhere, mixed in with the car parts and tools and table-saws. The large, greenish fusillage of a plane called a Veri-Eeze filled part of the space with its rough, fiberglass body. There were boxes of flight instruments, and piles of the components that would have been inserted into the wings to adjust the flaps. We had glanced at the shop when I first hired Leslie, but I hadn’t covered the full story with her. The story of why the shop looked like an airport after a tornado.
Next to sailing, flying was Dad’s favorite thing. He dreamed of building and flying airplanes; as a child I had memories of being taken up by him in a small private plane owned by a group at Boeing. We would urge him to fly above the clouds so we could look down at the billowy white landscape. His membership in the flying club expired and the flights petered out as his family grew and his responsibilities increased. Unable to comprehend such a thing as a work-life balance, his love of flight went underground.

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