Saturday evening, just before the blazing sun began to set, 16 repair people set up shop inside and outside the Arroyo Food Co-op store. They came with tables, chairs, soldering guns, tiny pliers, satchels of glues, sewing machines, a massage chair, iced tea and ice cream to share, passion fruit, buckets of tangelos and oranges to give away, and chalk for the kids to draw on the pavement with. The store was packed with people infected with the contagion of abundance, sharing, and the good feelings they bring.
There is a sense for me now, that this event has a life of its own. As usual, about three people who had planned to come had to drop out, and as if on cue, three unexpected repair people showed up. There is something bigger than the sum of the parts at work here.
The event was scheduled until 9. At 8:20, I asked the very capable triage team how it was going. Yvonne said we may not get to all our jobs – there were 59 on her list, and we were up to about number 35! At 8:45, a woman from the neighborhood entered agog with the buzz in the room. She asked if there was someone who could look at her vacuum, which was in the car. Yvonne said, oh, I don't know, our list of jobs is long and we may not get to them all. She was a bit deflated, but the excitement in the elbow-to-elbow crowded room brightened her smile.
Just then, Ai returned to the triage table with the word that there was a tinker without a job! “Bring it in now!” the woman, Carla, was told. So she rushed to her car and returned with the vacuum. It seemed like five minutes and the vacuum was repaired! She asked if she could bring in a lamp from her car, and triage said that the lamp repair person, Shakurra, was just packing up to go home, so hurry! Carla quickly returned – with the biggest lamp I have ever seen, a curvy heavy ceramic vase as tall as herself! Everyone in the room began to laugh with delight at the challenge this latecomer had brought. Shakurra (who was laughing the hardest) took a quick look and immediately diagnosed the problem. Done by 9 pm!
Photo finish! All 60 items attended to!
A wild ending to the most exciting Repair Café yet!