Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Repair Shop


In my home town there was an old Russian guy who had radio and TV repair shop across the driveway from the house where he lived. His house was right on the Route 202, a busy narrow road in the industrial district. It was busy like our own Route 202 in Astoria.

His home was on an outside curve so he could never see traffic while backing out of his driveway. He never even made an attempt to check for traffic. He would just back out of his driveway without looking and oddly no one ever hit his car.

I was friends with his grand son so I had the occasional reason to visit his shop. It was really geeky for the time with radio parts, vacuum tube testers, oscilloscopes and radios and TVs he was working on or had for sale.

The old Russian was a smoker. He had a talent of never flicking off his ashes from his cigarettes. They would grow and grow and sometimes stay on until it was time to extinguish the cigarette. His steady hands and slow movements probably made him a good electronics repair person, like a brain surgeon for circuitry.

This old Russian comes to mind because I recently heard a Russian pronounce the letter V as a W. You know how they call “Vodka” ” Wodka.” I remember being in the shop when people would bring him radios to fix. They would state their problems they were having and he always had a question them. Every time someone faced him at the counter he would take a long drag on his eternal cigarette with the two inch long ash and ask “How’s the Wolume, Sonny?”

Sometimes there was no volume, sometimes there was buzzing and sometimes the volume was soft or loud. These were all hints to the Russian. I now liken it to going to a doctor with a twisted ankle and the first thing they do is check your blood pressure and listen to your heart. To the old Russian, the volume or “Wolume” was the heart beat of all things electronic. It told him how involved his surgery would be.

3 Comments:

Blogger Chantel said...

My grandmother had that same ability to hold on to her ash for a long time. She smoked the long black cigarrette's too for some reason.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

That's one thing my kids have no experience with, the smoke-filled, dirty repair shop. Seems like so many places now are so much the same, so sanitary. But I went to shoe shops and TV repair shops just like that as a youth. Except that gas station on Marine with the ancient pumps (the only ones that worked while the power was out). I should take them in there. Everything but the Jack Russell Terrier is a mess!

12:43 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Chantel, that must be some sort of depression era thing. Pretty cool though.

Mo3, they are seeing things today that annoy us as being too modern and they will remember these places as the old days. I remember places like the former Safeway that were built in the 60 and all of that sort of architecture is now archaic.

5:46 AM  

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