No, not sanitation systems, although I appreciate those also. I mean people who can operate a sewing machine, or in this case, anyone who can wield a needle and thread without drawing blood, tangling one's materials in knots or making the finished object look like it was not sewn by King Kong or a Far Side cow (they of no opposable thumbs).
I was all thumbs in my first attempt at making a sock monkey, and worse still, I was late and missed most of the free class offered by the American Visionary Art Museum this Saturday. My first clue that I was in trouble was the lack of parking. And when I finally took the elevator up to the third floor classroom of the Jim Rouse (creator of Columbia, where I live) Visionary Center, I was shocked to find fiberfill flying everywhere and what looked like 300 men, women and children busily cutting, sewing and stuffing socks into fabric precursers of homo sapiens.
I couldn't even see a registration table; just dozens of round tables full of socks, buttons, yarn and more. Luckily, a woman wearing a "Monkey Helper" nametag took pity on me and gave me a pattern and five minutes of instruction. Then she started cleaning up. I felt pretty sheepish, thinking I could just drop in anytime--that's how I had understood the event. I also felt pretty disappointed, knowing sewing is not my strong skill and thinking I'd never manage to make a sock monkey, or even a sock amoeba.
But determination is a virtue, or something like that, and I stitched away into the wee hours, mostly because my neighbors were having a raucous party. By 3 a.m. I had a head, torso, legs and one ear, as well as two daisy buttons that gave Gladys all her personality. It really is all in the eyes.
I woke up this morning eager to finish, and hoping all the party-going neighbors had well-earned headaches. I had one, too, from trying to thread my needle without my glasses. But seeing Gladys with all her limbs intact and her wired tail made me feel all better. That, and some oatmeal monster (I mean monkey) cookies we made after that.