It was a revelation when I first learned that people could own air compressors. That experience, as well as my experiences of learning that people can own power washers, power tools or power anything, really, was the impetus for the restructuring of my understanding of my parents’ abilities as handy people. I was always impressed by my mom’s thrift and my dad’s elocution, but it didn’t occur to me how un-handy they both are until I started realizing how handy some other people are.
Granted, our garage was filled with tools, fasteners, different types of glue and other things that might indicate handiness. But now that I think about it, none of those things ever saw much use. Thinking about it now, it’s no surprise that we didn’t have any of those fancy power tools that I imagine everyone else’s parents having. After all, if we’d had power tools, given that clumsiness is evenly and thoroughly distributed throughout our gene pool, it would have meant certain disaster for us.
I can manage a power washer without blowing anything up. I had to when I worked at a dealership washing cars. The same thing went for the portable air compressor I used to fill flat tires. There was no pressure switch in that air compressor. I had only the gauge as indication of how full it was, and there was a distinct, stern warning on the gauge not to fill the tank beyond a certain point. Air compressor switches are usually installed on larger tanks that operate on a semi-autonomous basis. That was the case for the much larger air compressor that I used to fill my portable one. But it was disconcerting to know that I was only ever a few false moves away from blowing myself up every time I filled that tank.
As for tools like band saws, nail guns and impact wrenches, I’ve always been willing to let the pros handle those tools. And I’m becoming comfortable with the fact that there are no such pros in my family.