We moved out of the house in this memory when I was about four years old - so it was before that age - call it two or three years old maybe.
Inside the kitchen refrigerator was cold and even had ice. But the parts outside and underneath and behind it were hot - I could feel them. My question to my mother was: how can that be? How do hot things make cold? Of course she had no idea, I was given some mumble-BS answer, and dismissed as asking too many annoying questions.
But the truth of the matter is that, in one way or another, even since then, I have basically never stopped asking that question.
And from the time of being a small boy I grew up with engines and machines. I always liked them. And they always seemed to like me. They always made sense to me. I spent quite a lot of time in those long ago and halcyon days with an old Italian aircraft engine machinist who owned and repaired exotic cars. Drilling holes and tapping the threads was almost a religious ritual: How well I remember the old well-oiled wooden cases with each tool laying in it's perfectly proportioned niche. The 'cutting oils' blended like fine perfumes; this one more kerosene, that one more drain oil, this one with some gear oil added. He insisted that you could feel the metal; that you could communicate through the touch of your tools and the direct touch of your hands. That you could find it's 'way' - the strengths and weaknesses; what would work and what would not work. At the time he did not seem like a madman. I guess he still doesn't, although except for my cherished memories, he has been dead for more than thirty years.
My own father was a mechanical bumbler. Of course; he could read the words in the manual and turn the bolts in the proper directions - but he never loved the machines. It was necessity rather than passion which had him doing it. It took me a long time to realize that.
Quite naturally I believed that something so obvious and intuitive was common to everyone. How was I supposed to know that everyone was not a mechanic? That everyone was not in love with machines and things to do with machines; the tools, the sensuous feel of finely machined surfaces, the power and strength obvious in the touch of a heavy casting. That is was not every soul in love with the smell of lubricants, and of fuels, and hot metal. Who could not be in love with them I thought? It seemed that only the dead and near dead; the soul-less, could possibly not be intoxicated.
And I suppose that is why the idea of massaging a part or machine back into shape, giving it new life and meaning, making it happy again, still seems so much better to me than pulling a new one from a box. Something that any fool could do. If it's beyond repair; fine; maybe we'll make something else from it later. But so long as it can be made whole again - there's the Magic.