Remember the exciting first days of the Pandemic? When the world was new and it was possible to recast everything in the light of an adventure? (Okay, that’s my coping mechanism. It might not be yours.)
In March, I decided I was going to make masks for donation–first off to medical personnel who were dying (sometimes literally) for want of PPE, but then to others who needed them. It was great: as the masks of different sorts got sent off I felt a part of something bigger than I am, and I felt like I was making a contribution, and it felt great.
I am part of a group that makes masks for donation locally–and weekly I get materials from them to make 30 masks. I estimate that since I started in June I’ve made somewhere between 350-400 masks. This on top of the other donation-bound masks that I’ve made (different materials, different patterns). I have no idea how many masks I’ve made–I could probably look at records of postage and get some idea that way, but honestly, it’s not a contest.
Maybe at this point it might help if it were.
This weekend, for the first time since I started making masks, I had a moment of “don’t wanna” when I sat down my long-suffering sewing machine. The shiny has worn off the effort. I’ve become Fred the Baker.
Who he? Back in the 1980s there was a commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts in which Fred (seen above) rose at 0-dark-thirty, shuffling toward his store. “Time make the doughnuts,” he said over and over. Rain or shine, bleary with exhaustion, “Time to make the doughnuts.” When my kids were infants this got repurposed in my household. “Time feed the doughnut.” “Time to change the doughnut.”
I guess you could say I’ve reached the “time to make the doughnuts” part of the process.
In the commercial Fred shows up to make the doughnuts at 4am because he loves making something that makes people happy. When my kids were babies I showed up to feed and change them at 3am because I loved them and it needed doing.
I’m going to keep making masks, although that initial thrill is gone, because it’s still needs doing, because somewhere out of my line of sight I believe it’s helping, and because the point isn’t me feeling good, but someone else staying well. That’s worth a little bleary repetition, isn’t it?