Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fransisco, The Torch and The Dead Guy

I am incredibly excited to announce that I now officially own an oxy/acetylene "little torch" set-up! This is a MAJOR addition to my studio and has been a long time coming. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for my work and I'm thrilled with it. However, I have traveled to the edge of insanity and back in my attempts to get this baby up and running. In fact, it took an entire week of daily frustration - majorly resisting the urge to throw the oxy and acetylene tanks right out my second story studio window - to even begin to reap the benefits of this powerful tool. The "torch-erous" (haha) events of this past week have been so frustrating that I'd rather not rehash all the details. The main point I want to make here however, is this: In the end, my fabulous new torch set up was made possible with the help of one man: Fransisco.

Fransisco is 'The Man' at the Welding supply store where I purchased my oxygen tank (and subsequent adjustable wrench, acetylene B tank regulator adaptor and two different sets of flashback arrestors.) Fransisco, YOU DESERVE A RAISE. Your patience and generous passing of information was of enormous help. Although I've used these torches before and even once helped a friend start her oxy/acetylene torch set-up, I was nervous about doing it properly and felt very much out of practice and un-informed. Not once did you treat me with impatience, or make me feel incompetent as so many men in tool supply and hardware stores often do. Even when I would ask the same questions over and over again, and repeat the answers back to you "to be sure" I understood what you meant, never did you roll your eyes or tap your fingers on the counter. You didn't even make me feel crazy when I insisted I was going to blow myself up in the process of adjusting the pressure on the regulators. Most importantly, you did not make me feel like a 'Helpless-Little-Girl-Who-Wants-to-Play-With-Big-Boy-Toys' and you have no idea how much I appreciate that. It is rare. You went out of your way to assist me after several improper set-up attempts on my part and even came out to my studio to help me troubleshoot, re-assemble and leak test the system, ON SITE! saving me the trouble of hauling my sticky, sweaty, rear-end to the welding supply store for the fourth day in a row in 100+ degree weather. And since I know it is not your company's policy to extend such "favors," it is all the more appreciated. So thank you.

On to a new era in metalsmithing! (err… something) I know so much more about torches now thanks to this past week's events, so in a sense, the hassle was worth it. And the lesson here kids is this: I got fantastic service, Fransisco gets a customer for life. It's a win/win situation.

(You can't tell but my acetylene tank has a splitter attached to it, allowing me to easily switch back and forth from oxy/acetylene to my old acetylene and air torch I've used for the past six years - pretty cool that I didn't have to buy another tank just for that. I have the folks at Metalifferous to thank for that one.)

Now I'm sure you're probably wondering what the "Dead Guy" reference is by now so I will hold you in suspense no longer…

Today Dave and I went to McCarren Park for a little R&R, and well, about 100 feet away from our blanket spread on a nice patch of grass beneath a canopy of trees, there was… a dead guy. Yup. A Dead Guy. Face down in the grass. He was in amongst all the other sunbathers and park go-ers, shamefully over-looked most of the day as a homeless person passed out in the grass. Well, apparently someone eventually noticed he wasn't moving. Ambulances, police cars and fire trucks arrived to check it out. Not long after that, a white sheet was placed over his body.

The weirdest part about this for me was how surprisingly unaffected I was by it all at the time. I felt totally "fine" with it and not really freaked out or anything. I mean, yeah, it was odd. It was broad daylight, in a park, with baseball games and family picnics, and the un-nerving tune of the ice cream truck jingle relentlessly pacing the circumference of the park. (A strange and sickly soundtrack with it's passing doppler effect, but I digress) It was weird at first, like in a,"wow, really? He's Dead?" disbelieving kind of way. But what became even more fascinating for me was the growing number of on-lookers, rubber-neckers and finger-pointing hipsters frantically dialing their cell phones to report the events to all their skinny jean friends… "Yeah, dude, there's like, totally some dead guy in the park right now."

We're all so fascinated, and so immediately concerned with "What happened?!" Possible hypothetical scenarios inevitably race through our minds - maybe it was heat stroke? … perhaps he overdosed?… did somebody kill him? - and then almost without pause, without a second thought, we're able to simply peddle away on our trendy ten speeds; throw the ball at the batter on home base; take another bite of our hotdogs. Or in my case, return to looking up at the canopy of leaves, stenciled against the bright blue sky above and say, "well, that sucks."

Death is strange indeed.


Anonymous said...

Can you please share the name of the Welding Supply Store that Francisco works at? I'd love to find a store where beginners are welcome.


Margaux Lange said...

If you email me I would be happy to let you know the name of the business.