Thwarted Tinkerer

When did everyday objects become so complicated? When I was a lad, you could cobble together a DIY solution for pretty much any problem you could think of, provided it was a practical one. Nowadays, it seems like you need a degree in engineering to fix any given gizmo, which really takes the power out of your hands. For someone who’s always loved to tinker, that can be quite disheartening at times. 

Take cars, for example. I don’t know when this happened, but they’ve basically turned into computers. I had to trade in my ’98 sedan a few months back after it decided to call it a day, and my son helped me find a replacement. At first glance, the new models seem the height of convenience, kitted out with all the mod cons as standard inclusions. But when something goes wrong? It’s off to the garage for some high-tech fix that only an expert can provide – and for a pretty penny, let me tell you.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with that in itself. I’ve never been above paying a visit to a local auto electrician. Close to Hobart, there might be plenty of people who are well versed in this, but out here in the country, you can feel a bit on your own. For a tinkerer like me, that’s always suited me fine. It’s just that there are now so many computerised parts on cars that they’re liable to stop working at the drop of a hat, and you need someone with a very particular skill set to sort you out. 

Put it this way: when I’m on a rare trip into the Hobart area, automotive repairs aren’t what I want to be doing with my time. Sitting by the side of the road with an engine that won’t start because of a bung computer, similarly, is not what I’d like to be doing. I guess the solution is to find a mechanic near me who keep my car in good working order, and maybe even show me a trick or two for taking apart that danged digital interface.