There was a short story that I read when I was in college called “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen that stuck with me. This is remarkable because I remember it 20 some odd years later, and I remember what it was about and who wrote it. I can rarely say that about the books I read the day before.
The story is about a mother’s train of thought as she irons. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the story, because it isn’t really that important to this post – although that has never stopped me before and THAT is kind of the point of this post- but what I am trying to touch on is that we can do activities that require concentration and some skill but can still have a very active internal chat with ourselves, or can let our minds wander to other thoughts, and circumstances and ideas while not, say, setting anyone’s clothing on fire.
This all came to mind today while I was sewing. Rather, while I was NOT sewing. I got a bit of thread caught in the bobbin case of my machine which is a pain in the ass. It wasn’t coming out willingly and I had to take things apart. All the while thinking “well, this isn’t good and I think I am done sewing for the day and where is my other machine?” all at once. Once I got the bobbin case apart I saw, also, that it was rather dusty and glitter and fuzz filled. Glitter because, well, this is me we are talking about. Fuzz because that’s what eventually happens when sewing. Things need to be cleaned out now and again. So I went to get a Q-tip and sat down to clean out the worse of it. From the bobbin case that is, not from my own head full of fuzz. Although that would also likely produce some glitter.(you have never seen such pretty dust or dryer lint in all your life as you see around here.) I knowingly and intentionally left my machine not just plugged in, but on while doing this. This is not something that one should do while cleaning a sewing machine. When the Q tip did all it could I then grabbed a small metal crochet hook to finish up the job. Again, while everything was still turned on and all. This is me bragging about how I live on the edge. Some people sky dive, some people are into like ultimate sports. I clean my sewing machine while it is still plugged in. Beat. That. I do have a point here, though, I swear.
I was well aware that doing this was against the rules. I was also well aware that I really needed the light from the machine to see what I was doing. So it was a calculated risk I guess. The benefits of being able to see what I was doing outweighed the risk of accidentally getting shocked by touching something I shouldn’t inside the machine. We all do it and we all do it all the time. All of these thoughts were happening while I was cleaning out the guts of Maggie the sewing machine.
I was also thinking to myself “If I do get shocked then that can’t really be called an accident, can it? I am doing this will full knowledge of the risks involved. So that isn’t an accident. What would one call that? It also wouldn’t be deliberate. I guess it would just be called stupid.” although, I suppose it is only stupid if I had gotten hurt. Since I didn’t I guess it is called brave. Or Lucky. There is a fine line between brave and stupid and a finer line still between brave and lucky.
Then I was thinking, “I don’t understand how people are afraid to use a sewing machine. I have heard people say that they are afraid to sew a finger. THAT would take talent, to sew ones’ finger. That would require being really stupid and a blatant disregard for all common sense and safety. In fact, that would have to almost be a deliberate act. Also, the people who say this drive cars. They use smart phones, they raise children, yet they are afraid of an eight lb machine and a little needle. These people mow the lawn and ice skate and dry their hair. I think all of those activities likely involve a greater chance of injury than sewing. We live in a society of sissies. Even the men are afraid. Brian will run through live wires, freezing water, FIRE and glass for 13 miles yet he won’t touch the drill press. I don’t get it.”
Then I thought of the short story I mentioned at the beginning and how I can have a metal crochet hook poked into the guts of my sewing machine while it is plugged in and turned on and STILL can manage to have a whole thought process without causing my own tragic death.
My point here, well, there is no point, but this is what goes through my head as I Sit Here Sewing.
Also, don’t be afraid of machines and turn them off before servicing them.