Hector Carbuncle could be the ugliest man on the planet. But, he's a friend of mine, an old friend and probably irreplaceable. Without him in my life I would be half a person, unable to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'Gosh you're a gorgeous creature!'
Hector is his real name, Carbuncle, thank heavens, not. The latter sort of grew onto him as an epithet to his continual and haughty opinions on everything from global politics to motorcycle maintenance. I can't recall the exact moment that set it it off, but there is always an echo of it when I struggle to kickstart my now, aging Chinese motorbike. He's there over my shoulder saying in his irritatingly self-righteous manner, "It's the carb, uncle, the carb!"
Stripping and cleaning a motorcyle carburettor is a good afternoon's work. You have to half strip the bike to get at it then make sure that all the teeny wheeny springs and jets don't sproing away forever.
Then there's the actual setting of the float valve and this requires some delicacy and a search for my feeler gauge set. So I put it off till tomorrow and tomorrow never comes. Everytime I try to kick life into my Jialing, there's Hector, haranguing me.
In addition to being a pain in the ass, Hector is also acutely unreliable. If his name hadn't been Carbuncle it certainly would have been Herpes. He keeps popping up at the most inopportune times and has to be treated with the utmost respect, especially in public. I always intend to keep him in check at such times, but mostly don't manage, regretting my lack of self control later.
I should have stopped the friendship years ago. What can a man like him have to offer? If he was a competent mechanic or perhaps a bit better at networking computers..maybe he would be worth tagging along.
But there is simply nothing there. He doesn't even drive, coming to think of it. In the last few years he has always arrived and left on foot, once or twice on a bicycle. Always rushing off on some adventure or other, as if ugly people have the right to fun.
I do get a tad jealous when I imagine him out there, alone, taking on a swollen river in a bright yellow canoe. Or simply getting on his pedal bike and heading off into the night. Once, after a bit of an absence, he casually mentioned having attended the Argus Cycle Race in Cape Town. "Ah! So that's why I haven't seen you....How did you do?"
"I didn't race. I watched from a deckchair in Simonstown."
"Oh...so what else did you do in the weeks you've been gone?"
"Well, most the time was spent getting down there. I rode my bicycle . Took me a few weeks."
The sod! That's what he does. Takes my dreams, and does them. Tells nobody and then let's it slip much later.
I suppose that's why I can't get rid of him. He's a part of me. Makes me feel guilty about who I am. Tells me in no uncertain terms that while I am feeling good about looking good he's doin' what I should be doin' to really feel good.
So, H. Carbuncle has made it to my blog pages. Probably because he has turned up in my life again, ranting at me in his own endearing way. "You stupid son-of-a-bitch! You are just so flipping arrogant! If I count the number of times you tell me that you are off on such and such an adventure and then it never happens....well, put this in your hat. My entire life is a non-stop exciting adventure and I quite frankly don't know why I waste my time even talking to you.
A thought flashed through my mind, "Because, you idiot, I am the only person who gives you and your ridiculous lifestyle any attention. Nobody else even notices. I am at least JEALOUS!" I pause and the words form on my lips, "You just let me know what little adventure you are planning and I will join you.....WATCH THIS SPACE EXE!"
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