The mechanic said: ‘It doesn’t look good.’
It hadn’t looked good for a while, but I was hoping for a simple fix.
Then he said: ‘There’s no simple fix for this.’
‘What’ll it take?’
He blinked through a mental calculation, then said: ‘€1500, or thereabouts.’
The only other one I know with a Beamer was Tom Page.
He said: ‘You need to get it down to Joseph (pronounced Yoseph) in Ennis…’
The man had a point. If anyone could help, it was Yoseph, the Turkish legend on Clon Road, known for bringing many’s the car back from the brink of the bean can banishment, saving them from the scrap metal scavengers. Herein lied hope.
Got it towed down and planted outside.
Tar mac. Puddles. Rain. Blueberry bruised sky peppered with black clouds. Approached the office with caution. You never know with mechanics, if you catch them at a bad time the price of the job could multiply exponentially.
Yoseph was working on a Citroen and a Marlborough. Something to do with the water, or the water pump, or the heating. The most I could understand was: ‘It makes water, then waters makes to go away, then we have too many heat, and problim is difficult, you see…’
I didn’t, but said: ‘That’s mad.’
He took the cig from his mouth, sniffed and said: ‘Ok, you leave BMW and I call you tomorrow with solution or fix, maybe bad news, who can know.’
Who can know indeed. It was pure cold and dark and the rain stung like Lilliputian arrows. There was a Polish mechanic there too for show. Arrived from next door. A real extra in the breakdown charade. Bald with a stubble and a wind breaking jacket. Had the minus 20 Warsaw vibe, gave the impression of coming from a city full of big wide streets with white frozen buildings and orange lonely lamps and damp miserable history. Now he’s in Ireland with a car shack business and discovering his lost calling for help with mechanical bereavement. He demonstrated this by taking a look at my air filter and said he’d never seen anything like it. The blackest he’d ever witnessed in his whole career. Air filters are supposed to be white, you know? I said I know. He went then to say that the car should have been serviced, checked for coolant, taken care off, Irish people don’t know how to look after cars. So simple to avoid problems, but you don’t make precautions then you have “….the big bang….’
In Poland we don’t have this, oh no.
Yoseph started up the Citroen and it came to life with a purr and he stood there staring at it for a while, waiting for a sign, or a tell, or the symbol of a fixed problem in the absence of a rattle or whistle or an infamous “knocking….’
Warsaw allowed silent respect for the moment too and tried to give the impression he was listening for the same thing. An awful gust of wind came and shook me to the bones but I was the only one that seemed to notice. Yoseph finally moved again when he was happy with the Citroen and then all the inanimate life resumed around the unit. Rusty screws went back to the what they were doing, the hydraulic lift allowed itself a few ticks and a can of something oily rolled into the lonely Clare night and ran adrift in a puddle beside a broke down Volvo.
I hadn’t left yet in case it was impolite, even though he said it was ok, I waited for the final goodbye. Mechanics are funny like that. Could take it personal if you didn’t kind of stand around and observe them in action for a while, put some quality time in with the decrepit engines and geriatric carburettors, walk in the man’s shoes and try to understand him.
Beside me, Warsaw had just launched into a lecture on Hybrids when Yoseph looked up and released me into the dark uncertainty with with a wave of his tobacco coloured hand: ‘Ok,’ he said: ‘…tomorrow I call you, Happy Christmas for you…”
Mokusatsu – A Novel by Mick Donnellan.