Who was going to be involved? Who would be the repairers? Well, one friend said she could sew. A man working with putting electronic systems together at Caltech, said he loved fixing stuff. One of the more astute among us looked at me and said, “You’re a wood sculptor. You can be a knife sharpener.”
And so, I got volunteered. There weren’t many of us repairers at the first, nor were there many repairees. The number of fixes increased slowly, however, then after a year or so – and due perhaps to our casual style of operating- we began to see repeat customers. They would come without a tool to sharpen simply to say hello. We touched, exchanged a few pleasantries and continued on. It appeared that Repair Café was an opportunity where folks- never knowing their neighbors - could meet, conjoin, couple, and be recognized by in-person communication. The touching seemed to produce wholeness, however temporary, and a sense of being completed.
I was as surprised as others to witness it, though on reflection, such incidents should have been as expected, as were those by the rare customer who, having waited an inordinate “over-an-hour” to get their hair dryer fixed, complained bitterly to staff, all this while getting their gear repaired for free.
Human character being what it is, an array of it was on display one RC day when inadvertently, a suggestion was carried out to expand our monthly local announcement to include Facebook. As a result, the number coming for repairs tripled, quadrupled. Some came from as far away as fifty miles.
Our “Sharpies” corner was a throng. One woman had brought a half dozen scissors and wanted to learn how to sharpen them. I explained it wasn’t difficult but the diamond files used needed time and practice to get right. She insisted, and soon she was busily dulling her snippers as best she could, and was delighted…to be there. Others too had caught on and availed themselves – with our tutoring - the inexpensive sharpening blocks from Harbor Freight we kept on hand for aspirants to get the hang of things.
As I looked around, there were scissors and kitchen knives in varying stages of repair and disrepair, diamond crusted files and blocks, Sharpies and customers, conjoined, and enjoying the busy enterprise of camaraderie. Of all the RCs in which I have had a hand, this one was the most gratifying.
Watch this video about RC for inspiration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLrl3Gx687Ihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLrl3Gx687I