Stories without a moral III. Antonio the rectifier

Antonio saved me from a depression two years ago when, the same day that I was debuting my bike, I blew a crank thread because I was too anxious. I ended up finding him after going through many workshops begging for someone to put a hand to a titanium part; when I heard this word the mechanics turned their heads to their machines and told me: I'm not going to break a 500€ drill bit to make a new thread to your crank; why don't you buy a new one? How it pained me that a mechanic would invite me to buy a new part. What a lack of professional pride.

I met Antonio at Rectificados Querejeta a dark workshop near the Plaza de Castilla, he wore a farias attached to his lower lip; when I cried my sorrows to him he looked up and told me Have you tried to add enough oil? Nobody had tried anything, only Jesús, the mechanic from Ciclos Otero, whose profession has little to do with machining metals, but at least he tried. Little by little he was reading the piece with different gadgets, he was surprised with the non-standard thread diameter and I asked him what they were going to use 14.1mm for; so that you can't fix them if they break downhe told me, not to do what we are doing now.

He told me that he had already lightened the motorcycle to Dantin when I was running, I was changing steel parts for titanium. It cost one million pesetas to lower the motorcycle by one kilo.. And the fact is that, as Ramon the cyclistAntonio the rectifier loves his work; he likes to close the workshop having overcome a new challenge. Antonio summarized: I'm going to eat a millimeter of the titanium and put a bushing in it.. I nodded as if I knew what he was talking about; before I left he said: because... how much can these cranks cost? - 200€ - I told him - I was quite short - they screwed us, that's why they don't want you to fix them. Tomorrow you have it.

On Wednesday Antonio had to get me out of another quagmire on the same part that a new botched job had led me to. At Rectificados Qurejeta there are still six men over sixty years old, only one in his thirties collects and controls the orders but doesn't go near the machines. One of them was repairing the pistons of a '93 Renault 4. What will we do in 2015 when they have all retired? Why have we come to despise professions as beautiful as those of lathe operator, milling machine operator or rectifier?


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