Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mending Kits

I traveled often in a previous job, and the only hotel freebies I routinely collected were shower caps and mending kits.

Last weekend, when I could no longer close the catch-all drawer of my bedroom dresser, I purged and reorganized its contents, including dozens of remaining mending kits. Those pictured here on the right surprised me in their sameness and now prompt some kind of story reminiscent of Groundhog Day.

But I remember the reverence I felt toward hotels that supplied the kits on the left, with their pre-threaded needles -- a requisite, I’d assumed, for male guests, and pure luxury for women. It’s not difficult to thread a needle (although I haven’t tried lately, with presbyopic eyes); it only requires a molecule of spit to seal the thread's flyaway end, and then a moment’s pause in breathing while the end is aimed to and through the eye of the needle. It’s the delay that frustrates -- the 10-second pause in the midst of getting on with things and out the door.

And now I notice the unique kit here -- with its 10 colors of thread and needle threader; buttons, needles and pearl-topped straight pins; scissors; and a tape measure! The tape measure -- a tailor’s tool, not a mender’s tool -- is what prompts this kit into its own story.

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