SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 311: “The Honest Mechanic”

My view as I travel in the typical packed LA traffic.

Fitting that I am hearing my scratching brakes, in heavy Los Angeles traffic, as I drive to meet a new friend that has been referred to me by Brook, new friend featured in a past 365 interview, “You have to meet Zareh, he is a great guy!”

Brook in herself is quite the human, Her Rolodex is endless, and not one name in it is there for the purpose of her self-gain. Brook is just that way in wanting to know people, and because of this people are just magnetized to her. Forgive me if I am band standing too much in Brook’s favor. But in qualifying that today’s stranger now friend was not referred to us by Brook would be a disservice to the character of Zareh.

He is a man of the highest quality and I regard him as a person who is at the top in regards to integrity. Brook called it right, Zareh is a great guy!”

And for this reason I have dubbed him, “The Honest Mechanic.”

Zareh’s shop is clean, organized and one thing that strikes me is the absence of the typical swimsuit calendars that are prevalent to so many auto shops. The moment I arrive I am greeted as if into a living room of a close friends. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” Zareh offers as I sit with his mechanics for what becomes a campy little family discussion. We talk of our children, parenting and the way the world looks at each other.

Zareh tells me of his history and of his experiences in relocating from Lebanon to the United States in the seventies. “I’ve always been a mechanic, it has been good to me and my family.”

Here I am, sitting in the living room of a workplace, not wanting to go home as I settle into a wonderfully friendly conversation between warm friends. I could hang for hours and would like to do so, but with the time cresting the 2:00pm hour and my needing to post by 5:00pm, we jump to our 365 questions.

At first Zareh personalizes his commentary. Humbly stating, “The future…? I can’t say… “I think I just want to be on the beach enjoying the beauty with my wife.”

Then after a little more thought, he steps out of his humble wishes, “Working class people like us just want everybody to be peaceful and straight-forward people… I don’t know…

… It really does not matter religion, what matters is that the heart is good. If you work straight in your work, in your private life, in your friendship, as a husband and wife…

One lie… Eventually it is going to catch up… And then you are going to be in trouble.

You do your best. And then, if you know you did your best… what else are you going to do more.”

“Do you have any advice for what we can do to make our communities better?” I ask.

“Be honest,” Zareh comfortably and quickly replies. “’That’s it… one word, honesty… It’s the only way.

Again, friendship, family, whatever… business… if you lie…? yea, you can get away with it… once… maybe twice… Third time or more…? People start to see things!

So don’t’ lie.

Sure, we are human; we make mistakes, but be honest in what you do… There is nothing better than being able to sleep at night.

If just fifty percent of us treated each other with respect and honesty, the world would be in a better place.”

And none of us should never forget, that if we make a mistake, we should say two simple words… ‘I’m sorry.’”

I could write a book in reference to the twenty minutes I spend with Zareh this day, but glancing at the clock, 4:44pm, it’s time for me to scrub my writing and upload Zareh’s photos.

One thing I can conclude… Zareh is an “Honest Mechanic.”

Talk tomorrow my friends. May your travels be traffic free?