I have always dreamt of being the Ms Fix-It type. I knew a woman, a teacher I used to work with, who taught design and technology. She had a fantastically tidy lab with all sorts of scary equipment- you know the kind- POWER TOOLS. She could take any of them from their assigned place on the wall and turn them on and use them without losing a single finger. Our headmistress at the time was always asking her to do complicated things. “Could you build the school a classroom out of Coke tins and left over magwinya?” And this woman would smile and say, “Of course” and take down the exact power tool needed for the job and get to work. The resulting classroom would be a work of art that could bring tears to your eyes. Even now, years later, I think of this woman with silent awe.
I often say off-handedly to my husband, “You know life would be so much better if we had a power drill.” There is a part of me that really wants a drill. The part that still has hope that I could BE that D & T teacher, and if only I had a power drill I too could build a Coke tin and magwinya classroom. But then there is the realist side of me, the side that knows I am not that woman.
My box of fix-it tools, sadly, has nothing that requires an electrical connection. The box is not full; it has four things: cellotape, a plunger, bostek and a paper clip. In my world most things can be sorted out and made to work in some sort of fashion with one or a combination of these four things. I have an accelerator on my car held to the other plastic bit with a paper clip. Our fridge that doesn’t close properly has a strip of cellotape you must replace after closing. Bostek was keeping my recently put away Christmas tree, that lost its connecting bits, together. And our bath tub drain likes the attention of a good plunge or two before it allows a single drop of water to escape down the drain. My tool kit keeps my life going and the things I need working, but it lacks the elegance of taking out a power saw and a burning hot welding machine, donning some sexy goggles, and getting to work.
The thing I often wonder about that woman is -did she become herself once she got her hands on those power tools or was she already formed like that and the power tools were just going to be part of her destiny? The answer to that would make a big difference in my decision to drop my collection of tools and make that leap of faith and buy a power drill.