hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Living Remote

Here is one of the problems in living somewhere like Point Roberts.  Well, there is no 'somewhere like P.R.'; there is just Point Roberts.  But there are other somewheres that are isolated, rural, where things are not easily available because you can't just drive down to the store or the mall or the wherever.

This comes up for me especially with sewing machines.  I have several of them because I use them a lot for various kinds of specialty sewing, but when I need one of them I need it right now.  But they are machines and they don't always work right and, although my brother knew how to fix a car, I don't know now, and never did know, how to fix a sewing machine.  Unlike a car's parts, its parts are enclosed, hidden: the makers do not want you messing with them for the most part. They are girls' machines and noone really expects girls to do anything like that.   Like Imacs, they virtually come with a note saying that there is nothing you can do to fix this so don't try taking them apart.  Take them to a Professional.

But Point Roberts has no Professional of this sort.  Nor does the neighboring Canadian town Tsawassen.  Nor the next Canadian town Ladner, nor the next over the two borders U.S. town of Blaine.  I can transport my machine to a store in Ladner, 20 miles away round trip, which will let a man 30 miles away know that at his convenience he can drop by and take it away to fix it and then at his convenience return it those 30 miles to that store weeks later, and if I am lucky someone will let me know it has returned.  And there I am, with my machine repaired and only three or four weeks passed, except that 6 weeks later, it happens again, and we do another three weeks of no machine.  And now eight weeks later, it has again malfunctioned in the same way and I cannot go through another repair

And I say to myself, it is dead, or as good as, and it is time to replace it because I can't deal with these long periods of absence for repair that doesn't last.  But there is nowhere near me where I can go and buy such a machine.  In large part, this is because there are, of course, no local sewing machine stores at all.  But worse, there are no stores anywhere that any longer sell good electrical sewing machines.  There are cheap and shabby ones or there are good computerized sewing machines.  That is not what I want or need.

So I go to E-Bay and I find an exact clone of this machine I love but that will not have its wornoutness because it has been "little used", as advertised.  Assuming that is true.  And I bid on it and next day I have been declared the winner.  I have paid a good deal of money for a machine I have never laid eyes on that is coming to me from a person in Indiana to whom I have never spoken.  And I wonder, "Good lord, what have I done?"

Today, the machine arrived in a box that formerly housed bananas, packed with a little bubble wrap, and marked in big letters on the outside, 'FRAGILE.'  I hope not too fragile.  It does not look like a Professional wrapping job.  I open it, take the machine out and collect its accessories which have spilled around inside the bubble wrap.  I set it up, plug it in, get it threaded and coax it to work.  It is slow but it is cold.  I coax it along some more.  It begins to function better.  I set a button that I have forgotten needs setting and an essential function begins to actually function.  I am beginning to feel released from the fear of having made an ill-omened purchase.  And a few hours later, I am pretty confident that it is, as advertised, "little used," and is also fully functional.

Whew!  If I still lived in L.A., I would not be having this experience.  And, living rural and isolated, I do hope I do not have to be having it too frequently.  And yet, and yet, that is a big feature of living in a place like Point Roberts; one does have it frequently, in one form or another.  Living without easy access to things is not the worst challenge in the world, but the abundant availability of things is such a basic feature of living in cities that one forgets in coming here that one has given it up.

And when you need something, you may have to take a kind of risk that you have entirely forgotten about.

No comments: