October 26, 2015

Today I had an experience that illustrates exactly why I don’t want to own much stuff. A couple of years ago, driven by a sudden urge to be a bit hipper (I get these urges from time to time!), I bought an olive suede designer handbag on eBay. It was a bargain at $30. I loved the bag and used it often, but it was one of those big bags so I filled it with too much stuff (see September 10) and the shoulder strap broke. But I had a belt of the same color as the strap and figured out a way to use it to mend the strap. I took all the pieces to the local shoe repair shop and they fixed it for only $15. So for a while, I had a functioning trendy bag again. Until, of course, the weight of the bag caused the strap to break in a different place. Hoping I’d be able to figure out how to repair the bag again, I added it to my fixit pile.

Today I came up with an idea and headed back to the repair shop. The nice man who had helped me before remembered the bag, but when I asked him if he could repair it again, he went to the back of the shop and came back with his colleague (the man who would actually do the repair) and they discussed the repair in Armenian, pointing and shrugging and occasionally looking back at me. They explained that they would have to use rivets, and they weren’t sure it would look good. I asked for an estimate of the cost of such a repair before we continued the conversation. They estimated $30 this time. Since the bag had cost that, plus another $15 for the other repair, I decided to stop throwing money and time at the back and let it go. I offered it to them and they took it to use as scraps. I hadn’t planned to make the bag my Giveaway today, but in a way, I was happy that it was. Part of the point of this project is to lighten my material load. Belongings that need to be repaired weigh more heavily than others, since they require time and energy to fix them. So giving up the broken bag with the knowledge that it could be used to repair something else was very satisfying and very much what this Giveaway is about.

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