This Christmas I was (am) very poor. To be fair, I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t have to be poor. I work part-time from home, and home obviously doesn’t have to be one of the most expensive cities to live in. Over half of my income goes to rent; a tenth of my income goes to my ritzy yoga studio membership. Legitimately-poor people don’t get yoga memberships. But if I can’t eat it or learn from it, I can’t justify going further into debt for it, and somehow I’ve never been happier.
I wrote to my family members in November, asking for help buying the ticket home.
As you’ve probably discerned I’m low on income this season/year/lifetime(?), so I was thinking about getting craftsy this Christmas in lieu of spendy. Is there anything in particular you’d like knit (mittens! socks! pom-pom hats!), written (odes! sonnets! college entrance essays! greeting-cards!), web-design’d (headers! blogger account set-ups! social-networking presences!), radio’d (radio!), baked (pumpkin bread! cookies!), or created in some other handy fashion?
If there’s one thing I have, it’s time. And if there’s one thing I love, it’s glitter glue.
The following two months were a little intense, with their share of 5am finishing touches. But also, super awesome. Suddenly I was off the internet, catching up on episodes of This American Life and The Moth, learning how to divide heels and add stitches. I was doing things with my hands. I guess I’d kind of forgotten I had hands.
The whole experience got me thinking. A friend of mine works at the North Bennet Street School of craftmanship, and in December they were having an open house. She invited me to stop by.
And now, suddenly, I work in their gallery once a week, selling student work and supplies: the tiniest saws you’ve ever seen and a million different chisels and awls and clamps and ninety-dollar chrome rulers. The majority of the supplies we sell I’ve never seen before, couldn’t tell you how they could be used. The other day I was tittering in the back room, dusting what appeared to be decapitators while Italian opera merged from the speakers overhead with the alarming, muted buzz of wood-sanding two doors over. I’m trading my time, organizing safety goggles for a cloth-case bookbinding course in February.