Chapter 4 - The Old and the Corporation

THE ILLUMINATED TABLES

By the time everyone had left on that May day of much movement, there now were a few colourful tables assembled here amidst my renewed workplace which I now shared with the excited man. I think that he was pleased with the work days result, because before he left he smiled while locking the door behind him. I was beginning to know him better by watching his expressions as he made decisions, and I could tell that he was content because things were beginning to find their place in what was for him, a new shop. In fact, he returned alone that night and continued moving things around as I watched him work late into the night by himself and observed him contemplating what would go where, and watched his expressions of glee. And now that some of these cabinets and matching boxes with numbers had been assembled, I began to recognize what these were.

These were a modern versions of what was called a pinball machine. This was something I had seen before in and around the neighbourhood where I lived when I worked at the Crane Company.

And now,  right in the middle of what was my old workspace, along with a new workspace coming into being here alongside my memories, was a completely new work station adjacent to the colourful tables that apparently necessitated to be fixed. These "pinball machines" were here for repair, I heard some one call them pinball machines earlier that day and this is what struck a chord in my memory.

So now my old workplace had become a space to repair pinball machines. The moulds had been made decades ago for these objects, and now the repair of these machines along with their parts was to take place here, in this old building which was no longer serving as a foundry. It was time to fix what we had proudly built here decades ago, and it was clearly no longer the time to build anything new here in America.

These machines were a most modern version of what I vaguely remember them to have been in my time. And I later learned that the pinball machines in this workspace were not new & modern by any means. These may have looked very modern to me, but I was still in a sort of time capsule, mainly due to the excited man who controlled his environment so very well. as time went by, I learned more and more about what he wanted to create & control in this space. It was a sort of freeze frame of his younger years, mainly due to the fact that he was not so a kin to what the modern world had to offer of late in his daily life outside this space. This was a protected terriotory in a sense, and he wanted to maintain this place as a sort of refuge. I respected that, and since I would be sharing this space with him along with his vision of things, I ventured no further than from these walls. He made it clear to all those that entered this space that there was no tolerance for close minded behaviour except for his own, and he would often allow himself to be very critical of the outside world when he was in his space, at least that is what I observed. And in a way,  I was also a guest, so I refrained from any form of dissention for the time being. I understood that what he really meant to say was that he wanted to avoid people with little imagination, small mindedness, petty behaviour, greed and jealously as driving forces and especially avoid those who harbored commonplace thinking. Surprisingly, he managed to not find himself alone too often, and the wide variety of people I observed who came and went through this space I believe were generally respectful of the excited man and his follies. In any case some came back often to the shop, and some did not return for whatever reasons.

More importantly was that I finally recognized these colourful objects as pinball machines. The same object in essence as the excited man recognized them as being as well as a way to earn a living.  We saw eye to eye on this fact despite our different eras. And as for the humans that came through this place, I also recognized them as the same beasts from my time in essence as those in the excited man`s here and now. I slowly began to pay less heed to appearances as I got use to being out of my time. This would be the basis of the common ground for my understanding of the excited man, along with the way he worked and decided things. Ofcourse with the aid of the wall calendar, I could prepare for what was about to happen before it did. I thought that I had the excited man figured out by the end of that summer. 

And yes, these machines were different in shape, size and appearance than the ones I saw and occasionally played in my time, but the essence of the object remained similar, and there was comfort in this. The same went for the people that came to this shop, often on Friday evenings. I instinctively knew who they all were, as soon as I saw them. These human beings and these pinball machines were in essence all the same as in my time, and again only when I let appearances matter less and less and let the essence of things take over my perception. Being here in my old workspace with the excited man was like being in Plato`s cave. Shadows were being casted on the walls, but what matter was the essences of what produced them.

 

Yes, that is what was becoming clear to me as I watched the excited man make decisions, the essence of things was what made him act, the appearances were just a guide to help him along in determining which action to take and when. It made very good sense now.

I think that the excited man and myself both agreed on one thing without ever saying it - it was that these colourful and illuminated tables had a certain beauty and presence, and dare I say charm about them that made this workspace almost livable. In fact, these pinball machines were like furniture in this space and served as such many times.