Go to main menu Go to main content Go to footer

Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

The repairman in me

BY Sonny Orr Mar 16, 2024

For several months, my overworked dryer was cranking out a sloppy thumping sound. I wondered if I should get a new one or fix it myself. I decided to try repairing it, so I went on YouTube to find help. Sure enough, within minutes of browsing I came across a Canadian site that seemed to be trustworthy. It was quite informative, and I was able to deduce my needs by the thumping sounds alone and quickly ordered a repair kit. As its delivery by post took several weeks, I did some online studying.

Finally, the package arrived, but I let the noisy dryer continue for a few more weeks before the annoying sounds pushed me into repair mode. I slowly dismantled the dryer, as the video warned me to watch out for sharp edges. Oh yeah, don’t forget to unplug it. 

After removing the screws and fasteners, I managed to get the drum out without any real problem and quickly found the source of the maddening thumping – a large, tightly wound ball of hair. I figured it was about time to clean the entire machine and my vacuum cleaner sucked up at least 20 bucks in change and a small garbage bag of lint. It was actually fun.

After a thorough cleansing, I replaced everything from the repair kit and, voila! The dryer purred with a quiet, smooth sound, and a large grin appeared on my face. It stayed for quite a while as I had to admit I did a good job, albeit many months later. I even got a cramp trying to pat my back a few more times than I needed to. The family noticed too as the old stove was pointed out and I agreed to take on that job. This time I won’t wait a few months, as doing this kind of repair work is greatly satisfying.

Now, if that circumstance was multiplied to everyone who owns an old dryer or any appliance, I could quit my day job and spend more time collecting change and charging three times as much as my salary. But I decided that it could be a risky venture as dealing with lint all day is a health hazard and I’ll end up looking like Mr. Clean. Though I must admit that I am halfway there [don’t forget the rock-hard abs, Mr. Orr – editor].

Nonetheless, the dream of being the friendly neighbourhood appliance repairman involves immense risks. Like having to repair the vacuum cleaner because it’s too full of money or scraping out gooey black stuff from a washing machine. Or worse, etching the burnt-out window on the oven and inhaling odours of just about everything it has cooked since day one. It does have its charm, if you don’t mind the foaming chemicals that can melt your rubber safety gloves. 

I guess it’ll remain a fantasy, until the next repair kit shows up in my mailbox. But there could be a future in it. I could get rich using the same keep-the-change strategy as the proud owner of a laundromat with hundreds of hours of maintenance and repair experience.

That dream has a crease in it, I must confess. I cannot fold clothes – it’s impossible. Having faced that reality at home, I thank the stars that I didn’t become a laundromat king. At some point, I would have to fold something and instantly lose business due to bad reviews on social media.

LATEST ᒫᐦᒡ ᑎᐹᒋᒧᐧᐃᓐ

Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.