The world of auto repair can seem very small. You work on cars from your service bay, a concrete slab some twenty feet square, the only company the adjacent technicians and the machine itself. It’s up to you to get the job done with little help from this company (cars tend to obstruct rather than help, actually) and you go to sleep knowing you’ll do the same thing the next day.
Working this way when I still lived in Michigan, I got lonely. I loved my coworkers, especially my comrade Dave who worked in the other bay, but the shop was entirely isolated from the rest of the wrenching community. Training was the only time I met other techs, and they all seemed like idiots. More than once it occurred to me that maybe I was an idiot too.
My savior turned out to be iATN, and iATN members know what I mean. One day you discover a network of thoughtful, compassionate, car-minded individuals not unlike yourself—tens of thousands of them—and you suddenly realize that you are not an idiot, nor are you alone. For me that day arrived on February 23rd, 2003.
iATN stands for the International Automotive Technicians’ Network. Comprised of 56,968 members (as of this posting) from 150 countries with over a million years of experience, it is by the far the best single resource for information and support in this industry. More so, over the last four years I have met so many talented, intelligent, and caring people. This point was reinstated yesterday when I received flowers from a fellow member, Mark Jorgensen of Mark Jorgensen Automotive in Hervey Bay, Queensland, congratulating me for achieving my dream of opening Luscious Garage. Is anyone else tearing up about this?
Ok, ok, auto technicians (or “mechanics” when you’re feeling sentimental) are tough. They don’t say “I love you” as much as other people. So I feel as though I’m distancing myself when I say I love iATN. But I really do love it. Thank you Mark all the way down (under) in the Southern Hemisphere. Your gesture is very kind and much appreciated. I put the flowers on my tool bench so I can look at them while I’m working, to remind me of you and all the other members out there wrenching away.