Back when Hawkeye was about five months, one of my far-flung friends sent me a link to a New York Times article about the Irish inventor of something called “Sugru“. I found it to be a fascinating read, but I was still deep in the fog of exhaustion from never sleeping more than three hours at a time and didn’t think any further on it.
Recently though I have been contemplating about the fact that my phone charger was falling apart. There were no exposed copper wires, but the plastic coating was coming off in places and I had to decide between replacing it and repairing it.
The thing is, it’s hard to find a charger with a long cord these days and a relatively slim profile. So many of them are short USB cables with a wall plug adapter and getting them plugged into tight spaces between the bed and the wall becomes a challenge. And it was like the universe was waiting for an opportunity to remind me about Sugru. Advertisements for it starting appearing in my Facebook feed and I kept saying to myself that I should try this. But it wasn’t until the phone cord cover really started to fray that I sat down one night and ordered it.
Now, I didn’t remember to take a picture of the worst of the damage, but when I went to unplug the cable I discovered that the plastic coating had frayed in more than one place. But since a packet of Sugru doesn’t last long once opened, it just meant that I had the opportunity to use up every last bit of the packet I opened.
Its…. weird. It’s a bit messy. It’s LOADS of fun! And it does exactly what it says on the tin. Sticks to everything. Takes 24 hours to set. Turns into flexible rubber. I’m already thinking up of more ideas for how to use it, and in the meantime I’ve stuck the rest of the packets in the fridge to lengthen their shelf life.
It’s an amazing substance, and I agree with whoever called it the 21st century duct tape. The possibilities are limitless. What bothers me a lot these days isn’t so much that we live in a consumer culture, but that we live in a totally disposable consumer culture. We don’t fix or mend things much these days, we just toss them out and buy new ones. Now, sometimes it’s all you can do. And, frankly, I’m not going to spend my precious free time darning threadbare socks. But I can mend a ripped seam, if a little unevenly. Or patch a hole in my favourite pair of leggings. They won’t look as new but nobody cares when I’m wearing them while hanging out in downward dog in yoga classes anyway.
And I really like that this is what Sugru encourages – mending things are are still usable, if a little bit less than new. It’s clear from their website and Facebook page that the company has a cult like following with people trying to outdo each other with their creative fixes. In that way, Sugru has very much become what it’s named after in Irish – “play”.