There aren’t a lot of notions stores anymore – you know, for the kind of little odds and ends you could only find at the five and dime. Since there aren’t any of those stores anymore, I had to go to Kmart this morning to pick up some hand sewing needles and thread. I have a pile of socks and mittens that need mending, and I can’t find my sewing stuff. (Common ADD insanity – we have several copies of everything because we can never find it when we need it. Ask me how many Phillips head screwdrivers I own!)
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a pleasant evening at home, watching movies and mending. I find it very satisfying to restore things to their original function.
I like fixing things in general. Since I was a kid, I liked taking things apart to see how they work.
I remember a story from Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled,” in which his most annoying psychiatric patient was the last client of the day, right before a massive blizzard was supposed to hit.
A few minutes after she left the session, she returned to say that her brake pedal was stuck and she couldn’t move her car. Peck was really anxious at the thought of this woman being stuck at his house, and although until then he’d always described himself as someone with no mechanical aptitude, he decided he was going to fix her car.
He said he got down on the ground, stuck his head under the dash and took a long, careful look at the brake pedal assembly. He then started to move the various pieces – and finally got the pedal unstuck. The patient went on her way, and Peck breathed a sigh of relief.
Peck said the lesson he learned is that when people say they “can’t” do something, or that they don’t have a talent for it, what they’re really saying is, they’re unwilling to devote the time and attention to learn.
This applies to kids who “don’t know how” to do the dishes well, husbands who “aren’t good with talking to the kids, honey why don’t you do it?”, people like me who say they’re “not good at math, will someone else tell me what’s my portion of the check?”
Yes, we all have gifts and special aptitudes. But sometimes the most rewarding lessons are the ones we have to work harder to master. I’ve gotten a lot better at doing the math, and I’m proud of myself for it.