Elvin’s Workshop

April 05 Tuesday — Puerto Escondido

Here we sit quietly floating in the Ellipse. Skunked… meaning the engine is so apart that limping away is not an option. Yesterday we replaced the broken motor mount. However we found three sheared bolts that bolt a support bracket for the alternator, and the threads are embedded in the engine block. So we need a special tool called an E-Z Out (sp?), and we are trying to contact the only person within 100 miles (or 1000?) who has one. This is our second day of waiting for him to show up. Hope is a good breakfast, but a bad dinner, so we’ll see what the fates deal us today.

Where is that bolt?




I showed up at Elvin’s “workshop” this morning to be first in line to get his help. It’s not just his workshop; it is his man cave and sanctuary. In here nothing is organized, but he knows where everything is. He once left town for two weeks and his wife cleaned up the shop. When he returned he couldn’t find anything for a month, and he made her promise she will never do that again.

I have learned that casual talk and kibitzing for an hour while he smokes his pipe and tells me a few more sailing/travel/life stories is a mandatory part of engaging him in business.   Mostly I listen with a mix of impatience and amusement. I can’t quite stay fully present in the moment because I’m focused on getting RD’s engine fixed.

I’m trapped in a communal paradise. The majority of cruisers here have nothing to do and want nothing to do day after day.   They are beyond their years of work achievements and seem content to let the day unfold without their input.   Once in awhile they organize  just enough to get essential logistics and provisioning accomplished… if not today then tomorrow.

I notice how out of rhythm I am here in Elvin’s workshop — schooled as I am in the American culture.   My satisfaction is sourced by the love of to do something… achieve something… make my mark on the wall and move along to the next project. Both my joy and ego-assurance that I exist are connected to accomplishing something (large or small — global or local — public or private). But I’m learning there are other ways to be in the world, and the American way is not gospel. In fact it is a cultural delusion.

Elvin is as much interested in accomplishment as are the mountains that surround us. His satisfaction is sourced from telling and retelling a captive audience stories from his past. I struggle to be fully present and respectfully listen to this old man recant his best stories. He repeats that he has a million of them, and indeed his supply seems endless.   But it is not 5 o’clock at the bar, where I’d gladly listen to his stories, and tell a few of my own, if he would let me in.

It’s about 9 am, so I struggle internally with my awareness that Elvin is worth knowing and I shall never pass this way again, and with my genuine interest in being witness to his travels. I know that my focus on the day-forward is contaminating my being fully present here with him. But my goal to fix RD’s engine is also on my mind, and my agenda to make something happen today must remain unspoken for a while longer if I am to get any help.

End of day note: no progress and no action today. We wait another day for the mystery guy with the special tool to show up. Maybe manana. Elvin has assured me tomorrow we will have a fix.






One thought on “Elvin’s Workshop

  1. Ahhhh, for the patience to SLOW DOWN. Those of us schooled in the ‘American Way’ (or the ToDo list of things to accomplish today) have trouble with the slower pace. I applaud your efforts to both recognize this and acknowledge to value of Elvins stories! I hope the tool arrives tomorrow. Smile.


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