I like to think that I am getting better at this off-the-grid-living thing. You know, fixing outboards, keeping gensets going, living off the land – that kind of thing? I mean – we all expect that more experience adds up to a deeper pool of strength or something, right? I am not so sure.
The other day, I must have ‘brushed’ the vent closed on the fuel tank to the genset. But didn’t notice. And then I started the engine. It ran and then stopped after awhile. I tried again. Same result. First thought: “OH GOD!! Engine doesn’t work! Oh God! Panic stations!”
But then, my deeper-but-still-not-extensive level of experience showed up. Calm settled in and the second thought was: “OH GOD! Engine doesn’t work! It will never work again! Just don’t panic in front of Sal!”
Not such a big improvement, actually.
And so I progressed through more such thoughts until I had gone from fragile and forced calm to ‘slightly ticked’ and inconvenienced. The thought then changed to: “Oh well. It’s too cold to work, anyway. I’ll go have tea. Maybe take it in to town for an expert to look at. Or maybe try to fix it tomorrow. Stay calm, Dave. Breathe.”
And so it went. But, after a while, I was calm enough to go back out and get into the carbs, drain them, check the spark, take off a few pieces, clean some filters and do a few things and fiddle about. All in the dark, of course. And it was getting colder. Poor me.
Still, I remained calm as I diligently addressed the problem, talking myself through procedures and generally being way more mature on the outside than I was feeling on the inside. As you can glean from all that, it didn’t come easily. It didn’t come naturally. But I got there. I looked like off-the-grid-guy, anyway.
Took an hour or so.
I had stripped it all down, cleaned it all up and checked it all out. It was time to try to start it. Just as I was about to do that, I noticed the vent to the fuel tank was closed. I opened it.
Ran like a charm.
I like to think that it just needed a quick ‘once over’ and that, after the initial panic, I had done all the right things like the off-the-grid-guy, I was trying to be.
The truth: I inadvertently shut my own engine off and it took way too long and way too much anxiety to figure that out.
Pathetic, thy name is Urbanguy Goneferal. He’s still an infant-student in a different world.