It’s not often that in between readings and coffee you get a chance to hone any practical skills. So, when my pants need to be hemmed or my computer is being troublesome, I find myself either at the mercy of my grandmother, or at some Future Shop emptying out my wallet. That, or whatever it is that needs fixing often ends up in the trash.
I found myself in this position once again looking down at my trusty backpack, which had lasted me quite a while during my university travels. In the hopes of saving it, and some dollars, I made my way to the Repair Café. I was a little confused about the concept myself, but on the promise of free coffee and baked goods, I made my way over to the event to see what was what. A monthly affair, this month being held at Skills for Change on St. Clair Avenue West. On September 13, the meet up involved furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys and more, all to be repaired for no cost at all.
When I first arrived, my honest expectations were to meet elderly people looking to do something with their spare time and antiques. This wasn’t all wrong. But surprisingly, as the morning carried on, I noticed how diverse the group became. Experts on items varied in age and background, and so did those coming with broken items to be mended. As I waited for an expert of my own, I watched as Sam, a young boy, helped a middle-aged man repair his old radio, while an elderly man assisted a young Russian woman with her laptop.
The Repair Café not only offered the opportunity to learn new skills but also the chance to connect with skilled people. After snacking on the free coffee and baked goods for an appropriate amount of time, I made my way to the sewing room where two women were able to help me stitch back together my tattered bag.