Today’s guest post is from Linda in St. Paul.
I’ve never gone to college, because I’ve never been sure what kind of degree I should work toward in this way-too-modern world we live in. If I could design my own course of study, I might choose to pursue a degree in The Almost-Lost Art of Fixing Things.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been an avid fan of the Fix-It clinics in the Twin Cities metro area. Volunteers gather in a community meeting place and invite residents to bring in stuff that needs fixing. In a spirit of helpfulness, these volunteers bring an amazing array of tools and expertise to bear on the problems of our lives – the once-useful, now broken, torn, malfunctioning things that are one step away from becoming junk. Whatever you have that has one foot in the landfill, there is someone there with a sewing machine or soldering iron at the ready, just waiting for you.
As I write this, I have some rice simmering in a favorite saucepan that was salvaged not once, but twice. I fished it out of a “FREE” box at a garage sale years ago and mended its broken handle. Last month the handle gave way again, and this time the old bolt that had been holding it in place was so rusted I couldn’t remove it to replace it. The saucepan became a candidate for Fix-It attention.
At the Longfellow Park Rec Center, a volunteer named Gary supplied a center punch and a metal-cutting drill bit that dispatched the offending bolt. It was just a matter of replacing the hardware, and my saucepan was back in business. At the same clinic, volunteer Corey helped me take apart a moribund TV remote and clean the battery connections to bring it back to life. At past Fix-It events, I’ve had help reviving a recalcitrant smoothie mixer, a worn extension cord, a wobbly gazing ball stand, a noisy oscillating fan, and a non-responsive leaf vac. Not to mention the chainsaw that was adjusted and several wonky zippers put right.
No one makes any money off these repairs, but there is a satisfaction payoff that can’t be adequately quantified. A job well done doesn’t necessarily have a price tag.
What lost arts would you like to revive?