If you have owned and restored more than one classic vehicle, then you have probably developed some system for organizing the pieces and parts associated with the projects. There are documents and receipts (that you never want to tally up), large parts such as wheels or sheet metal, and of course the small parts. In the Classic Velocity garage, the small parts end up in one of those stackable flip-top plastic bins. A bit of masking tape provides a label. So far so good.
And then a vehicle leaves and it does not always go with all of the parts. Eventually these orphaned parts get combined into a bin marked “MISC”, or one with lots of vehicle names on it. Sometimes a homemade tool or a unique item gets included in the cascading process. At this point I have quite a few bins marks MISC, and a few with no label at all. The problem is that I have a great memory of what I have, and a dismal memory of when I got it or where I put it. Which brings us to today’s tale.
I needed to change the small lock in the lid of the tank compartment on the R100GS. That lock is riveted into the lid. On a recent ride it came open at 65 mph, and while the compartment was empty, it was not a welcome surprise. So one bright morning I decide to remedy the situation with the replacement lock I acquired a week earlier. Very careful work with a drill got the old lock out in a few minutes. Then I went to my little plastic draw of rivets and grabbed two of the correct size. Then I went to get the rivet gun. It was missing from its’ designated place in the toolbox. This is a problem. Some people keep organized by memory, and can maintain a seemingly chaotic environment because they know where everything is. I am not one of them. I rely on things having a place, and being in that place. I can be disorganized for a short time while actually working on something, but then I have to cleanup. So when the rivet gun was missing, it could have been anywhere in time and space.
I remembered seeing the rivet gun when it was last used. The red-handled tool was in the bottom of a bin or toolbox draw along with a packet of rivets. I went down to the stack of plastic bins in the basement and began searching. Each one labeled miscellaneous was pulled out and checked. I found a few things that I was glad to find (so that’s where I put it), but no rivet gun. An hour later, still no gun. Then I had a revelation. It was in a toolbox draw I had not thought to check! I rushed back to the garage and opened the identified draw. Sure enough, there was the red-handled tool at the bottom, but it was a pair of hogging pliers, not the rivet gun. I checked other draws and no luck.
At this point, I was pissed. A rivet gun is only about $10, but when you already have a $20 gun somewhere within a few hundred feet, it is aggravating and wasteful to get another. I mean, this is one of the problems with the world right? Guys with 2 rivet guns and 3 tire pressure gauges and 4 half used tubes of blue loctite. I glanced at the tank compartment lid sitting there with the two rivets sticking up, and then at the helmet that I had optimistically taken out expecting to be underway in a few minutes.
I reattached the lid and headed off to the hardware store. A few minutes later I grabbed the $9.95 rivet gun rather than the $18.95 one with the swivel head just like the one I could not find. I blew off the anger with an hour on some great backroads and an ice cream cone. I never went fast enough to make the lid fly open so it wasn’t an issue. The therapy of the road made me realize that I had blown an hour and a half of riding time over an issue that was not actually preventing being out on the road. Such are the workings of a diseased mind. Back in the garage, I riveted the new lock to the lid and adjusted the latch. Perfect. 3 hours later the 15 minute job was done.
The next day I cleaned up the garage, which is always a strangely satisfying job. Toward the end, I picked up the old lock and put it in the platic bag that the new one came in. I opened the plastic bin labeled GS Dakar, dropped it in, and there it was. The red-handled swivel head rivet gun lay on the bottom next to a packet of rivets. I had put the rivets there anticipating the replacement of the lid, and apparently put the rivet gun next to them for the same reason. Brilliant. I would never have looked in the bin for vehicle I needed the item for. The red-handled swivel-headed rivet gun looked calm and inanimate laying there in the bottom of the plastic bin just as I pictured it, but on an cosmic level, it was laughing it’s ass off.