Thursday, May 22, 2008

Love it or Hate it?

Cleaning your guns that is...

It used to be that I looked forward to and enjoyed the process of cleaning my guns as much as I did tramping the Powerline roads with them or shooting them. It's part of the cycle physically and emotionally.
That was when I was a teenager and younger man. Some of that was part of my bent for mechanical things. A large part of it was the ritual and rhythm of it (related older post).

Those were the days when shooting was much less about shooting. In large part that was because dollars were scarce. Each round fired was planned carefully and savored. A full day hiking and plinking along the logging roads and powerlines might not even consume a full 50 rd box of ($.99) 22 ammo. Shooting an entire box of 20 centerfire rifle rounds was an unthinkable luxury. With each round fired there was the subconscious concern for when the next part time or seasonal job would come along to provide funds for a trip to Yardbirds for another box or two of 22 ammo or 12 ga birdshot. After which we would linger near the rifles on display in the sporting goods dept and dream of an adult paycheck and a firearms purchase.
Now that I'm older I've become less enthusiastic about the cleaning process. Actually, it's not that I can enjoy the "after action" cleaning and inspection any less now. It's that time has become a more precious commodity and often I don't have the opportunity to. Some things can't be enjoyed properly if rushed. Indeed, some activities in a man's life deserve for the clock to be ignored and for time to stand still for the duration of the activity: things like a sunset, eating a piece your sister's strawberry/rhubard pie (a la mode of course), or an intimate moment with your wife.

Still, on a dark night at sea when a much younger sailor looked up a dark Indian Ocean sky and contemplated what he really missed about being home and looked forward to -- this sort of tinkering and contemplative activity was high up the list after being back back with wife, family and friends.
Reality bites. The savoring of gun cleaning is one of those areas where life and responsibility crowds in on a boy as he becomes a man; as a boy becomes a man by choosing to defer pleasure and shoulder adult responsibilities.

Hurry up boy. There's work to be done.

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