Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Day of Rest


Blissville is home to over 25 garages, who, in turn, employ countless mechanics and bodymen. The car-repair business surely is the neighborhood's economic mainstay.

They open at 8:00 and close around 6:00. Only a few keep longer hours, working ten, fourteen or sixteen hour days, with two shifts for their mechanics. Six days a week they work these hours. They close only on Sunday.

Now there's a new garage in town, this one with a bold, fresh-painted front, a marquis even, and inside, a large skylight that illuminates a wide, clean space.

Being right off the exit, it's the first garage a person spots in Blissville. Men stand outside welcoming the lost commuter in need of a tire change.

Something about seeing them, gaily hailing customers, even on Sundays, made me happy. Anyone can make his home in Blissville, I thought.

I use Sundays to wander around the neighborhood. The streets are empty, the neighborhood still.

This Sunday my walk took me to a side street where yellow fumes poured out into the air. I walked closer. I peeked in. Someone was painting a car in the open, without any of the usual protections against toxic particulates. Even the bodyman painting wasn't wearing a mask. I walked around the block. Who was this?

The newcomer. Because it was Sunday, the day of impunity.

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