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The Purple Papoose, Part 2

Bounteous. It is a pretty word that doesn't get used much. It has an interesting etymology. It is the best word I can think of for a recent experience with a seamstress. That isn't where you would expect to have a memorable experience.

Consider how difficult it is for travelers, especially unmarried men, to get any garment repaired. Even if they are married, most gringas these days can barely sew; or they consider it beneath them because it is sexist and traditional, almost to the point of being neolithic.

First of all, you must find the seamstress. They tend not to have webpages or billboards. Sometimes there is a simple, hand-written card on the bulletin board in a laundromat. That is where my luck started. If the seamstress is more of a tailor, she will be busy with wedding dresses, and not have time for old-fashioned, low-cost repairs.

Woe unto you if you bring her an unclean garment for repair. That is the sort of blunder that a male neanderthal is prone to.

I drove up to her house. It was hard to park on the steep gravel driveway. The place was a dump -- not just the house, but the yard around it, with all the detritus of hillbilly heaven, especially a dozen yapping curs. But I preach decomposing situations into their component parts; this was certainly a chance to practice what I preach.

What a relief it was to find the seamstress pleasant and well-spoken. I could tell she didn't have many customers. Perhaps many potential customers had been scared off by first impressions. Glad I wasn't.

She worked fast and did great work. So I returned home and cleaned out my 'dead and wounded' garments. Why not throw everything I had at her? What a strange, powerful feeling that was! A long overdue feeling of relief; and a feeling that all things are possible in this sorry old world of ours. Besides the tip I gave her, do you think she got satisfaction from doing something tangible and beneficial to another human being? Remember that somebody who travels in a small space has exacting requirements on their possessions, no matter how they look, superficially, to the casual observer.

As luck would have it, this thought ties in perfectly with a string of books I recently chanced onto, by Matthew B. Crawford. I read the preview of his book, and have paid him the ultimate compliment of shipping a dead-tree version of the book to the post office, with all the agonies that involves. (A first, for me.)

There is no better travel experience than one that combines with some other part of your life. What does [a travel experience] + [a book] = ?  Think of how two-dimensional and sterile words are, on a page. But a real life situation animates dull words. Where was it?, in the movie "Roger Rabbit", when birds on the page of a child's coloring book were suddenly brought to life, and began flying in circles above the book, while cheeping and chirping away. I am getting to enjoy a pleasure of that type now. I can't wait until Crawford's book shows up!


John V said…
You built that rig from the ground up. Sewing is really easy compared to that. In the time you've agonized over unrepaired garments and endlessly searching for a "seamstress" you could trust, you could easily have become a competent sewing guy and saved a little cash.
Easy, hell, I can't even thread a needle. I bought some gadget at Walmart that is supposed to make that easier, but I couldn't even get that to work.

I DID notice that Show Low has a Bernina store. A guy can't get interested in something if he doesn't get another excuse to buy an expensive electrical power tool.
Perhaps instead of using the word, seamstress, I should have said, Garment Repair Technician.
Ed said…
Garment Repair Technician brought to my mind the title used for all the service people in Bulgaria. Everyone was a Maestro; the maestro plumber, maestro electrician, maestro auto mechanic. What you needed fixed was always done by a Maestro.

There were a couple 'sweatshops' in town that had what we would call seamstresses but the shops were referred to a sewing factories and the employees were just factory workers. But if one of those factory workers were to do any repair work outside the factory job they would a Maestro.
Indeed I would be happy to call this woman a sewing maestro!
Jackpineseed said…
Now This...This is why I've tuned into your blog for all these years. You take us from the "detritus of hillbilly heaven with a dozen yapping curs" to Matthew B.Crawford. Yes. Thank You So Much! I've got to have 'The World Beyond Your Head', like you say, even with all the agonies that entails being on the road.
Thanks for the compliment, Jackpineseed. Someday, I hope to read "The World Beyond Your Head." Right now I am waiting for "Making Things with your Hands" at the post office.