Friday, August 20, 2010


Service Stations here still give service.  The Mobil at Flagstaff  has a 20 foot container to one side, the workshop for a tyre repair shop that is efficiently run by a maori-fijian man in his 30's.   His bulging chest and tribally tattooed arm muscles bear testimony to the car tyres he obviously throws around.  I don't know his name, but I'll call him suits him!

Over the past 3 years, I've needed 3 tyre repairs.  I arrived there today, and Max's grin told me he recognised me.  He informed the waiting taxi driver (the one with two bald tyres)  that he would serve me first, as I was a repeat customer.  I suspected he recalled the tips I'd given.  I felt some fleeting embarrassment but culture is one of those things that I am still learning about, and I knew this was one of those moments.

Max set about removing my rear wheel, tut-tutting at some damage done by a mechanic's jack recently.  He decided to panel beat that out first.  The tyre finally slid off and was heaved into a leaning, cast-iron bathtub, one end propped higher than the other, a quarter filled with water.  Experienced eyes surveyed the tyre as it was spun and checked.  I heard the disappointment in his voice when he found no leak.  I sensed an unspoken "There goes my tip..." hanging in the air.

After 15 minutes, and the addition of grease and air, he asked for the usual $3, the standard repair price.  That's roughly $1.80 AUD.  I had already decided having a safe tyre was worth $10, and drove away after immediate service with a job well done.  I was Max's priority.  And Max got his tip.

Certain things in life are priorities, whether we acknowledge them or not.   Just because we ignore them doesn't lower their importance.   What benefits am I failing to reap?  What needs more attention in my life?    Less?      Lord, help me recognise my priorities.

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