Does buying something new actually solve our problems? Once that new car feel wears off, I don’t think so. There’s a simple sort of honor to be found in using an object for the duration of its intended use. If something’s capable of lasting a lifetime, why keep replacing it? You then have to work more to afford a new version, and with more complex items, it often means relearning how to use it.
Our Wandering Rhythm is about having space to pause at will; time to deal with whatever life throws at you. If something breaks, there’s way more knowledge, let alone satisfaction, to be gained in learning the skills to fix it than there are working hourly at a desk. The internet, enthusiast sites, even Youtube, there’s no reason to throw away perfectly good equipment.
Here’s a little repair trick I picked from an Eagle Scout years back: Nalgene strap paracord replacement. Anyone who’s used these bottles for more than a few months knows that the advertised indestructibility does not extend to the strap. I’ve seen several bottles pitched in the trash because of a broken strap or missing cap. What then the point of durability?
Nalgene’s warranty doesn’t cover a new lid/strap combo, so they sell replacements on their site for $3.25. That may be pocket change, but I like to keep my monetary thinking firmly rooted in real world terms. Opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one path is chosen. Is the work to afford replacement worth the time to not fix it?
The cost/benefit ratio is different for every scenario, but fixing this water bottle took five minutes. $3.25 is a gallon of gas (even more right now!). $3.25 is a morning working in a coffee shop. $3.25 is the profit from four downloads of a single. $3.25 is about half-hour’s work for minimum wage after taxes and Social Security. Sure, paracord’s not the prettiest thing ever, but if you care that much about what your water bottle says about your personality, I’m surprised you’re here.
Let’s get down to the repair. With a cordless drill, I ran ascending passes of 1/16, 1/8, and 3/16 bits through both ends of the strap. I kept the cap on to avoid shavings getting into the bottle. Next, measure and thread your cord through the holes, twisting the ends to a point if they start to fray. Leaving enough room to knot each end, mark and cut your cord. After you tie it off and test it, take a lighter to melt the cord ends and prevent fraying. Do this in a well-ventilated area! I also did the broken edges of my strap to ‘finish’ them a little cleaner, but that’s optional.
Find what your opportunity cost is and don’t sell your time and energy short.