Observations OF AN ENGINE WIDOW


| August/September 1985



RD #2 Schoharie, NY 12157

Ladies, that time of year is fast approaching. You know what I am referring to, that dreaded two weekend event known as 'Gas-Up'. It turns loving husbands and caring fathers into callous inhuman creatures who only care about engines and grease. I call that frightening transformation the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.

You first notice the hibernation phase of the J and H Syndrome. The affected male moves out of the house to the garage and practices ancient voodoo rites on a rusting hunk of iron. He works feverishly to free the engine, using enough tools to equip three auto repair shops. He slaves for hours painting it, using enough paint to give the outside of the house three coats. Don't fret about that, actually 'Pond Bottom Brown' looks better on the engine.

Chances are if you have a son or more, your mad scientist husband will not be happy until they have been anointed with grease, oil, and paint. They like to start boys early. My husband cut his teeth on a 9/16 wrench.

They emerge from the garage long enough to bolt hurried meals, throughout which they converse in a dialect known as 'enginese'. Occasionally, your husband crawls in bed with you and falls into an uneasy slumber. You can tell he's there when you dream you are in a filling station because of the smell. Most men will deny it, but you can hear them whimper in their sleep about fouled plugs, stuck pistons, and sick carburetors.

If they are among the mechanically inclined or just plain lucky ones, they get the engine running eventually. Wives are notified of this memorable event by threatening obscene phone calls from the neighbors at three o'clock in the morning.