Car Problems Seem Easier to Engage but the Harder Problems Are Still Worthwhile

“External objects provide an attachment point for the mind; they can pull us out of ourselves. But only if they are treated as external objects, with a reality of their own.” –Matthew Crawford in The World Beyond Our Head.

I’ve written about Matthew Crawford before, but I was reminded of his helpful insights on the Saturday just after my last day of teaching this year.

I had stopped at school to pick up some items and Zoom meet with a friend, but I was a bit concerned to hear my Toyota Corolla (with about 340,000 miles) making a tapping sound in its engine. I figured it was just a little low on oil.

However, once I put in a quart of oil and drove it around the parking lot, I noticed a steady drip of oil. It looked like it was coming from just above the oil filter. So, I drove home and did a quick oil and filter change. After which, I could see the oil still flowing just above the filter.

With some quick Google searching, I identified the culprit as an oil sensor unit. Fortunately, it was in stock at a local auto parts store. The install took about 20 minutes. I think I conquered my oil leak.

My brother texted, “That is how you truly reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Sometimes, it’s refreshing to have such simple problems to work on. But our work as educators and human beings is often much more complex and complicated. But it’s worth it.

Driving our other car to Georgia for family visits, my wife and I are listening to various audiobooks and having great conversations about learning, teaching, and relating to others. In all the stories that are most interesting, the problems are the most complex and nuanced: Complexity is a big part of what helps us grow as human beings.

Some things to think about this summer. (Along with a bunch of things to tinker with.)

P.S. As I travel, I’m looking forward to enjoying Matthew Crawford’s Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road.

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