Hi,

We’ve noticed that you never see a disabled automobile in the RD without 5 guys peering under the hood.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the car is in a major intersection in Santo Domingo or on a rutted track miles from the nearest habitation, nothing moves until the requisite 5 guys have assembled, conducted a cursory examination and ventured opinions. It seems to make no difference what the problem eventually proves to be either, although the jury is still out on that one.

It’s like there is some sort of horizontal mechanical gravity that’s unleashed the moment the hood goes up, drawing the closest 4 guys into the sphere of the malfunctioning vehicle. .

I myself have been subject to that force and have joined the circle on more than one occasion.

My suggestions are always thoughtfully received and consistently rejected. This is the case even when the observation seems to be particularly helpful (“The engine won’t start because you’ve disconnected the battery,” for example.) That experience was reminiscent of other experiences within the labor movement, but that’s a story for another day.

I’ve attempted to explain this “gathering phenomenon” to myself. At first I thought we were witnessing the entrepreneurial spirit at work, but there’s not a big profit to be had in roadside opinions. Then I supposed that the circumstance of an open hood presented an irresistible opportunity for the 4 guys to show off to the driver what they know about motors. But that’s not it, either. Often the guys will confess that they don’t have a clue. That’s completely unlike the labor movement, but I digress.

Lately I’m leaning towards the theory that the individual participants are personally distressed because the vehicle isn’t carrying the driver forward in the expected manner. Perhaps they believe that a little collective will and encouragement will inspire the vehicle to further movement.

It’s magical thinking, I know, but it’s that kind of place.

Actually, to see some of the cars on the road here is to fully understand the way in which human will, belief in the almighty, and prayer to the pantheon can move a seemingly lifeless heap of plastic and metal down the road, even achieving impressive speeds.

The eventual resourcefulness, endless patience, and boundless optimism of the 5 guys (and all of their Dominican brethren) are a joy and an inspiration.

And, eventually, the car starts and the guys move on.

Bill
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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