Friday, August 5, 2016

What Exactly am I doing with my Sight?

By Biko Zulu
When I wrote the story about Loice (with a "c") a pal called Emmanuel Dennis Whatsapped me and said "Hey, Did you know that Palo who fixes my Mercedes [yawa!] is actually visually impaired?" I said how now? He had tons to say about this guy's talent on German vehicles. So I came to see Palo, who is actually called Charanpal Sigh. His dad is half-Singh, half-Kikuyu. Mom is half-Singh, half-Meru.
" I dont even know what I 
am," he laughs.
Palo worked at DT Dobie for 5 years before opening his own garage. When he turned 27, one day he started seeing double, with killer headaches. Menengitis struck and took away his eyesight and hearing from one ear. He could have drowned himself in river of pity, but instead, the little shred that he hanged from was his passion for German machinery.
What else could he do? All he knew and loved were engines; how they sounded, how they smelled, the finese with which they were built, the pride they came with. Palo is the kind of guy who likes to go to bed with the faint smell of oil still on his hands.
"Without sight, work is slower because I have to use one ear to listen to the engine, and I have to feel around for parts." Yup, he knows The temparement of a crankshaft by its feel.
He knows the older models of Mercedes like the back of his hand. He can tell them apart by sound. "The true test of fixing cars is fixing the older cars that were built before cars became computerised."
I asked him what his edge is over the sighted mechanics. "Passion and honesty." He said, " I handle one car at a time, I never take two jobs at any time because this is not about money, it's about curiosity. I'm curious about what ails German machinery." Palo, the Mercedes Whisperer.
When you leave Palo you can't help asking yourself one question; "What exactly am I doing with my sight?"

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