About a month before we came out here, we saw an amazing display of hand tools in an antique store. They were, in fact, no longer tools, but, through time and because of a revolution in mechanization, had become cryptic decorations. We were drawn to these fascinatingly useless artifacts. Nostalgia welled up as I looked at them, dissociated as they were from work, problems, or chores.
Who knew that necessity would turn us into do-it-yourselfers in such a short time? Gone are the days of calling a handyman or “tech” to come in to fix what’s broken at home. Repairmen don’t want to get sick; residents fear inviting contamination in. Instead, our household autonomously mobilizes to figure out a hack whenever anything breaks or goes bad.
In these stay-at-home times, I enjoy repairs. They trigger welcome episodes of suspense, drama, pride, anguish, and (often) comedy. Suspense because daily life will be poorer if we can’t fix what’s broken. Anguish because in fact some things we own we can’t fix ourselves. Pride because our track record is pretty good so far. Drama because there is always more than one view or possibility. Comedy because, looking back on it, the drama is funny.
I’ve gotten reacquainted with the contents of the tool chest, mouldering old wrenches, pliers, hand-drills, and screwdrivers, unused for decades. We’ve fortified the house against ants, tweaked the security system, installed new appliances. My proudest accomplishment is fixing my husband’s glasses with a twist of picture wire.
DIY? Yes we can.