Sunday, July 24, 2016

Preventative Maintenance

 ...something that reduces the need for correctative maintenance later on.

I never learned to maintain things when I was growing up. You didn’t own a car in New York City (there was no place to park it, and the subway would get you wherever you wanted to go with less hassle anyway) and the apartment house superintendent took care of everything else. Ironically, I was put in charge of a computerized artillery piece for a couple of years, but luckily it was never put to the test under realistic conditions. We did OK on the practice range, but conditions were pretty closely controlled to keep scores up, and the targets didn’t shoot back.

But maintenance goes on all around me now and I alternately complain about it and wonder at it.

 The greenbelts in our senior community are mown to within an inch of their lives, and something is always being painted. Most recently it was the carport fascia, which looked OK to me but got a coat of paint anyway.

I understand the concept and I have to admit, in cooler moments, that the community looks pretty dam’ good for being 54 years old, and preventive maintenance is what’s done it.

The tradeoff, though, is having to listen to leafblowers seemingly every other day and fighting for a parking space on the street when all cars are ordered out of the carport for painting. Inconveniences but, looking at it another way, they do give you something to worry about when you no longer have real day-to-day worries. It used to amuse me to see old men doggedly pushing leaves and bits of paper off the sidewalk with their canes, but I’ve come to understand. Developing some crotchets to fume about can be a kind of preventive maintenance for your brain.