Out with the old and in with the new? Why we’d all do better to start repairing


Photograph from RepairCafe Wales on Facebook

A shell of what you were before. The spark you once had has gone. I flick your switch, I push your button, but you refuse to turn back on! I stare at you from across the room. I fold my arms and squeeze tight. My source of entertainment has gone. No pictures. No music. No light. Two days have felt like an eternity. I read books but it isn’t the same. It is grim in this room. It is lifeless and grey. I am bored and your absence is to blame! The cogs in my head begin to turn. My eyes frantically scan all around. I am lonelier now than ever before. Silence replaces the sound. Through you, I escaped my daily stress. You are more than an object to me. You are perfectly imperfect: you are damaged, you are old, but to me you’re my priceless TV!

Out with the old and in with the new? Abandon it? Throw it away? Give into the lure of a shopping spree? A rash purchase would brighten-up my day! Yet – My credit card is maxed and my savings at zero. No extra cash to be found. I am balancing on this financial high wire, a 500-foot plunge to the ground.

Would a bank loan help to scratch the itch? A solution to a problem that I am unskilled to fix. Or would short-term material gratification, lead to long-term financial devastation?

I want it. I need it’ I am awash with desire, as my anxiety level raises higher and higher. The devil on my right says ‘Bank loan – that’s what to do!’ While the angel on my left says, ‘WAIT – think this one through!’ I feel trapped in a spiral of indecision. Desperate to escape this juxtaposition, of needing what I want and wanting what I ‘need’. My anxiety flows like an irreparable bleed.

Descend deeper into debt? That would not be wise. A feeling I hate, I deplore, I despise. This TV is okay though it is just a bit bare. It needs some love, some attention, a repair.

I search online; there must be a way. Google directs me to the Repair Café.  A place that repairs for people like me. The best thing of all is the price tag, it’s free. Could this be a sign things are going my way? It opens once a month and that day is today!

It is a few streets away, it isn’t too far. I’m environmentally conscious so I won’t take the car. I have not walked for so long; my lungs fill with fresh air. I feel alive as the wind blows through my hair. What initially started as a grey and cold day is becoming warm and sunny. Things are going my way.

I arrive at my destination. It was only a mile. TV in hand as I enter. I am greeted with a smile. ‘Hi my name’s Jack, can I help you today? One TV to be repaired at the Repair Café?’ I sit next to a man who is different to me: different age, different race. A nice man indeed. He inspects the TV and speaks about life. His eyes ignite with happiness when he mentions his wife. I am overwhelmed by the benefits of this conservation, as I break free from the shackles of instant gratification. Though after 10 minutes he says ‘I’ve got some bad news…..You’ve come all this way for a change of fuse’. We smile and chuckle in a jovial way. It is the first time I’ve done so in a number of days.

TV now repaired. I look all around. I take-in the people, I take-in their sounds. The smiles, the laughter, a hubbub of noise, people of all ages repairing electronics and toys. A cultural melting pot, working together as one. Irrespective of differences, they get the job done. Repairing various things and having fun too. I’ll be coming again…. Maybe you could come too. Scientists, doctors, shop assistants, or cleaners whistling a song. The Repair Café could do with your skills, so come along! Each person has something to offer, irrespective of age or creed. If you have time and a collaborative mind, you are the person they need!