These are the things I say or do. While in France or some other country in the neighborhood. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fix Shit Up

I have this pin that says, "Fix Shit Up". I don't wear it that often, really, only when I'm feeling especially surly. I should have worn it yesterday, though, because that's what I spent the entire day doing. I fixed my shoes, which have huge holes in the bottom of them, by gluing/placing cut up pieces of bike tire over the holes. Now when it's wet outside my feet stay dry instead of wet and numb. I got halfway through repairing a hole in the knee of a pair of pants that my mother would have had me throw away a year ago. If you've ever seen me, you know these pants: the ones with the hole in the crotch that I patched up last winter. They are my old gyro stand pants, and even though the grease stains have faded on the top of the thighs and my pen made a huge stain by leaking all over the pocket on New Year's Eve, I love them and am doing triage to keep them alive.

I also sewed a couple of cool patches on my bag. It only had one that my Grandma and I sewed on this summer with her sewing machine. I put a circular patch with a bright yellow hem that says "Bicycles Don't Pollute" in green letters with the o in don't being a big bike wheel. Anne's sister Kate sent this to me from Illinois and it rocks. I also put a patch that has the coat of arms of Normandy on, too, and plan to put one with the Polish flag on, too, as well as the blue patch with "Bicycles Allowed Full Lane" in large white letters I used to have safety-pinned on.

There's something about fixing things that I really, really love. Maybe it's the reward of patience that sewing brings, or the satisfying feeling that instead of spending money on a new thing or taking it to somebody else to repair I've developed skills that I hadn't had before. When we repair something, we also say that it's worth keeping around for awhile instead of throwing away, giving that thing value. And we don't contribute to the waste that is so prevalent in this world.

I wrote in my 'zine that resourcefulness is born out of want. When you need something but have little means to get it, you have to rely on yourself to obtain it rather than simply expending a resource you already have. You have to develop skills, be creative, keep your eyes open to the world for materials or information or people to help you along towards your goal. Being resourceful and sharing ideas and skills creates community as well.

I think back on the skills that I have accrued in the course of fixing things and realize the relationships I've developed because of this. I got to know my Grandma and my friend Lisa better because I wanted to sew stuff with their sewing machines, and they graciously showed me how. I found a cadre of talented, thoughful people at Skunk River Cycles in Ames because I wanted to fix and build my own bikes. This goes back really far into my childhood as well, when my dad showed me how to fix my first flat tire, my grandpa helped me build speaker boxes for my 1980 Chevette and my mom showed me how to cook, clean, garden, and in essence provide for myself in many aspects of life. When we repair things we make ourselves better as well.


Blogger Michael Faris said...

When we repair things we make ourselves better as well.

How true!

3/06/2006 12:58:00 AM

Anonymous TJ Wethington said...

Ah the Chevette how I miss thee....


3/06/2006 02:16:00 PM

Blogger jonathan meier said...

Hey Nick, remember that handkerchief you gave me when you, Mike, and I went dumpster-diving? I think you found it somewhere... I remember you saying you got it in a boiler room, but that seems weird, so that's probably not right. I think I told you that I took it on both walks, and I got a LOT of use out of it. Well, I still have that thing. It is torn to shreds, but I still use it. I actually tried sewing it up a couple different times because I didn't want to throw it away. And, lo and behold, just when I was about to give up on it, I read your post! You know something... I think I will fix it up! So what if it's tattered to a point of no return. So what if there's more thread than fabric. So what if the torn parts of it keep catching on things (thus tearing the fabric even more). Doggonit, I'm going to carry that thing with me to my deathbed!

Thanks for that priceless gift, buddy! Whenever I blow my nose, I think of you (and that guy in the paddywagon who blew his nose on my jeans when we got arrested together).

Ahhh... the memories!

3/07/2006 10:30:00 AM

Blogger Michael Faris said...

I remember that guy! Ah, the old days.

3/07/2006 04:44:00 PM

Blogger the Rural Ninja said...


Crisp new things do not always define our ways. Great beauty can be found in the sentience we project on objects that age with us. Vranas would agree. Remember, progress comes to those who train and train. Reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere.

Peas, RN

3/07/2006 08:35:00 PM

Blogger jonathan meier said...

Mike, do you remember the handkerchief? Didn't Nick give you one, too? (Sorry Nick, but I'm going to have to cut you out of this conversation and just talk to Mike now. You never respond to any of the comments.)

3/07/2006 09:08:00 PM

Blogger PlumLily said...

Lets shop thrift when you get back. Then we can sew our new finds into great fits for our oh so stealth bodies! Yah!

3/08/2006 10:17:00 PM

Blogger Michael Faris said...

No, I don't think he gave me one as well. If he did, I gave the snot-covered germ factory back to him. He probably licked it -- you know how much Nick loves the taste of germy mucus saturated in cloth.

3/11/2006 09:38:00 AM

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3/12/2006 11:52:00 PM

Blogger Michael Faris said...

See Nick, this anonymous fucker is the reason you have to type those obnoxious little weird words when you comment to my blog. They attacked me like crazy one day, so I had to set it up so that robots couldn't comment on my blog.

The question becomes: Don't you have something better to do, Michael, than make this assinine comment on Nick's blog. The answer: yes, Michael, you should be writing your take-home final answers to a course, or reading a book. But therein lies the reason that Michael is posting this comment to your blog.

3/13/2006 12:02:00 AM

Blogger LudditeNick said...

Damn robots and their comments. They should just shut up and keep to themselves. Get to work! It's only midnight when you are posting, so I assume you have at least four more hours of gruelling self-flagellation to go.

3/13/2006 03:15:00 AM

Blogger jonathan meier said...

Word on the street is the robots are trying to form their own union. They are demanding that their system be "reloaded" and their main battery be "jump started" every four hours... if you know what I mean;) (Okay, I don't even know what I mean with that one.)

Frankly, the robots are nothing but job-sucking monsters. "ROBOTS," ha! More like "Rob-bots," the way they "rob" our jobs and all!

"Go back to where you came from, rob-bots!"

Remember when they took over Itchy & Scratchy Land, and they could only be taken out be a flash camer...oh, wait... that happened in a fictional episode of the Simpsons. Sometimes it's hard for me to distinguish reality from a Simpsons episode.

3/13/2006 09:26:00 AM

Blogger jonathan meier said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/13/2006 09:26:00 AM

Blogger Michael Faris said...

Correction: I only had three more hours of self-flagellation to go. I think I went to bed right as you posted your comment (3:15 a.m.).

The Simpsons isn't reality? Shit.

3/13/2006 12:50:00 PM

Blogger jonathan meier said...

I know, I'm as disappointed as you are, Mike (i.e., about the Simpsons not being reality, not about the self-flagellation thing... I actually have no idea what that's about, nor do I want to know).

3/13/2006 03:00:00 PM


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