Working for a mechanic and carwashing

Working for a mechanic and carwashing

I will include two little stories from the past even though they could be their own, but proves I can do my own work and similar to what Temple Grandin had proposed within her own writings.

Lets go to the carwash
During the mid-1990s until around 2001, I had my own little job or business if you call it that in the caravan park I used to live in Hastings Point. During this time I was in my mid-teens and in high school. I don’t know how it actually came about, but I was washing cars in the caravan park for a little while. I provided my own equipment, except for the water and hoses. I was still in high school and the extra money did help and I might have used the money to buy those potato pies I liked. I think I had around half a dozen vehicles that I did wash. The money was helpful especially when there was need for money to pay for and go on school excursions if there were some.

The charge at first for washing the cars was $5 per car and I had some happy people who would get me to wash theirs on a weekly basis or once a month. I would mainly do so on the weekends and I would vacuum to if they asked and I charged extra for that little job. Victorians who came up to northern NSW would want me to wash their cars too and they got me to do so every year. It wasn’t a big job and I was happy to earn myself a little bit of cash. The job involved washing the cars and drying them off with a chamois cloth. Some cars were just pretty dirty and others were clean anyway. I did have people tell me I was too cheap and wanted to pay me more, which was excellent.

I wasn’t restricted to just the caravan park as some family friends did have me wash theirs though something I did learn was laundry detergent is not good for washing cars. Not because it’s the wrong type of cleaner, but you can’t turn the nozzle on the hose as your hands are too slippery and cannot get a proper grip on anything. Laundry detergent is different to use for washing vehicles as it makes the vehicles slippery too.

I washed cars until I left the caravan park with family to live in town closer to Tweed Heads and career opportunities as I had to rely on my push bike or the local transport, which was barely non-existent after certain points in time in the mornings and evenings. The people were sad to see me go and wished I could have stayed to wash their cars as they liked having me to do so. I have no idea if the owners of the caravan park in Hastings Point really cared if I had this little business going, but it did help me to save money. Once I moved I did not pick up the bucket and sponge other to wash the odd car or two amongst family.

Mechanically sound
Once a week for around two years I was helping a local mechanic out by cleaning his workshop. He is actually a family friend and he wanted someone to give him a hand sorting everything out once a week. The job did not earn me much at all as it was $10 an hour, although I joked with Al that I should be paid $20 an hour, although I only had 2 hours to work. His response had been I would be paid more than him. The job was so that I had something to keep me busy once a week as well. It was a really great time to head out on my push bike to Machinery Drive. I was happy to help out Al with his work though sometimes I did learn a little bit about engines, although I could pull them apart, but never put them back together.

The tasks I had was a really dirty one as there was grease and other muck everywhere. I had to put the tools back onto the wall after I wiped them down as they were on the bench, clean the hoist (I once got into trouble for sitting on a chair to do this job. Al thought I had back problems until he spoke to mum). There were other cleaning jobs and putting other things away. The last job was to sweep the floors and once a fortnight to hot mop the bathroom floors and out in the workshop. Being a mechanics you may get the picture of how black the floors were. Getting clear concrete floors were just not possible ever. It was great afterwards to try to clean the grease off your hands as that stuff is hard to get off at the best of times. I did have certain clothes that I would wear on that day that I was not worried about getting very dirty and greasy. Believe me at the end of the time my shirt was black.

While there I was asked to do some manual jobs, where I would learn some new skills and Al and Nikki wanted me to research how to put up shelving. I did do the research and got the correct drill bit to go through brick. Lets say even though I marked the wall first to make sure it was all correct I ended up with extra holes the brackets could not fit. I thought it was pretty cool there was smoke coming out of the holes. The shelving themselves were really not stable as they still rocked. It was my first attempt at such a job and I know those shelves stayed up complete with extra holes in the wall until Al, sold the business. They are probably still there with the rickety shelves. I should say that I am actually the master if disaster and any job that I do is never ‘Brad’ proof.

It was not always just work as there were plenty of pranks played out on myself and on my poor defenceless bike. Somehow Al had figured out my bike lock password and removed the bike leaving just the lock behind. I couldn’t figure out where my bike had gone, but it was funny in the end. I was getting stressed and panicking that my bike had gone and couldn’t keep my mind on the job properly. At least he did not send me out for a long wait. Think he once took a wheel as well, but can’t remember if he did that. He did not like me tying the bike to a fire hose as he used that on the cars or needed to use it. There was quite a bit of back chat going on between the both of us as we threw wise cracks at each other and when we do meet up years later, we still do the same. No one is ever surprised about what comes out of my mouth especially when I joked about taking his crutches last time we met. I am still a smart ass especially within the workplace environment, though I do know when to stop.

It was still a great time to be had and never boring. I only left the workshop when I ended up with a job in Coles. At the same time I was picking coffee up in Carool as well so had to leave that too. Everything interlocks with these two points in my life in the form of employment type stuff. Al was very happy that I had started working for Coles, although my hours were at the beginning only 16 per week, but that would set me onto a course for what life is like now.

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