My beloved box knife, Big Blue, was near death after he lost several incredibly infuriatingly small screws. No big box store carried that size. Even my these-guys-ALWAYS-save-the-day McLendon, a hold-out family-owned chain harking back to the magnificent old days when screws didn’t come in plastic packs of 12, only had a near-match. I LOVE MCLENDON. I sure as heck don’t have the know-how to figure out what size he needed.
An ingenious and thrifty crew saved him with the right size screw at a Repair Time coordinated by the King County Dept. of Solid Waste’s inventive EcoConsumer division. Fix-It Fairs, Repair Cafes are an increasingly popular community event in which volunteers gather to repair their neighbors’ small electrical appliances, household gadgets or even clothes. The Wikipedia article I link to on “Repair Cafes” credits an Amsterdam resident with the idea in 2009. My rescuers were at the Woodinville Library.
Am I wrong for feeling nostalgia for by-gone days when everyone probably knew how to hem a pair of pants? I used to watch Little House on the Prairie: that’s the closest I’ll ever come to knowing how to build a house until I get a chance to take a day with Habitat for Humanity.
I applaud this return to self-sufficiency and sociable community. I’ve got about 50 such events on my calendar, and more to come as I find them. Bring something of yours to a fixer. Or maybe join the fixer clan.