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Occasionally, my dear friend Nikka will come in and ask me a question while my mind is wholly otherwise engaged. My response inevitably runs along the lines of "Sure. Of course. But not right now."

Sometime in the last two weeks this happened. I know it did, not because my brain retained any imprint of the event whatsoever, but because a couple of days ago before i went to sleep Nikka says to me, "Don't forget we have to pin my costume."

Confident, i reply "We did that already."
But oh no. "Your pins weren't symmetrical."
Crap. "You never mentioned it." I counter, with great certainty.
Alas, she had. "I talked to you about re-doing it days ago, you remember. You said 'Sure. Of course. Not right now.' But we need to do it soon."
Dammit. Perfidious brain.

Thus, for much of yesterday, i've been stabbing myself with pins, cussing vilely, and forbidding Nikka from any motion up to and including breathing.

This is not because the project she set for me was a large or difficult one. It is because i am not a god damned Boy Scout. I am not handy. I cannot sew, pin, or tie to save my life. The last time i had to make a knot, i melted the nylon rope together with a big fucking lighter.

There are useful skills i've acquired. I can replace my RAM, video card, and hard drives. (I don't, under normal circumstances, but i can.) If your car won't start, i can give you a jump or possibly even fix the battery (given essential tools like a paper towel, a coke, and a hammer). Provided the tire place hasn't used one of their damned hydraulic wrenches to drive my lug nuts deep into hiding, i can put on a donut without crushing my car, my jack, or myself. I've even replaced my spark plugs and spark plug wires, although not on this car, since nowadays they seem inaccessible, covered by what appears to be a robot.

Nevertheless, sewing and all its accoutrements upend me, their alien wiles elude. In my world, needles are the pointy devices used to shoot you full of B12. Thimbles belong strictly in novels, plays, and old ladies' display cabinets. Clothing is held together by some incomprehensible mix of thread and alchemy. Buttons fall off, and are replaced quietly in the night by elves. (Admittedly elves who look exactly like Nikka, but still.) As for cuffs, you might as well say, "Wizards did it." The process is as mysterious as a bad fantasy novel. I take the pants to a man; he nods sagely and covers them in strange markings, then carries the article into the bowels of his shop, where small women with nimble fingers do something, while murmuring softly to themselves in a language i don't understand. A week later i return and my offering has been transformed from giant garb into clothes for ruby. It may not be advanced chaos theory, but it's fucking impenetrable to me.

My great-grandmother made intricate quilts, mostly Dutch Girl. My grandmother made endless smocked, embroidered dresses for her first grandchildren, my cousin Madolyn and i. But my mother cuts patterns and wishes she could sew. While i just wish i could sew a button.

Not too long ago these inabilities would have been key failings. In Victorian London, or in a less fortunate situation even now, being a puny woman who can't sew, cook, or care for children would have made me worse than useless, a burden to be supported. Luckily, i live in a time and place where the skills i have are more useful to me than the skills i lack. Except for yesterday, when a knack for pinning two pieces of cloth together without needing stitches afterward would have saved me a least a pint of blood.

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