May 17, 2009

Kismet in Kalifornia

My friend Rene introduced me to a new word today "kismet". It is the the confluence of coincidence and future fortune. This has been the theme of our road trip to LA LA land to prospect, purchase and transport antique woodworking machines back to Oakland.

The story of each of these machines is intertwined with the history of the men (and women?) who inherited them and are now in need of liquidity. As we meet these "sellers" we hear their stories which reflect the bittersweet legacies attached to the machines now moving out the door.

Yesterday we journeyed to Van Nuys, CA to meet a guy selling a band saw. At first he really just was a "guy" who was late for our meeting and who, when he finally did arrive, had forgotten his keys. After climbing over the security gate to let us in, the guy guided us to the saw which was berried amongst other sleeping iron giants.

As Rene explored the saw's inner workings the seller began a spontaneous monologue about his grandfather and father who had started the family business he was now regretfully closing. He whispered under his breath "this shop use to be filled with men."

Suddenly the seller had become Andrew and for the remainder of our journey we have been discussing his mixed messages of wanting to sell yet setting up every possible barrier to completing the transaction. As we parted ways, leaving the saw behind, Andrew's reluctance to close the doors was reflected in his lifeless stance. It was obvious to us that he was hearing the buzz of men and machines now gone.

Again, sharing his inner dialogue, Andrew told us that he was the only one remaining to close the doors and wasn't certain the he himself would continue his craft.