Mission into enemy territory

Yesterday I went on a mission deep inside enemy territory – and I’m not going back. It was a dangerous seek and retrieve mission into the unknown… into… the fabric shop.

Most men don’t even notice fabric shops when they’re single. Once attached, most hang around the doorway waiting for their partner – or if they’re really brave, follow their partner around, with a dazed bewildered look on their face.

But I had a specific mission, a coveted prize to bring back: a metre of fusible webbing.

I should point out right now that I had no idea what fusible webbing is. I was going down the street to the post office to pay some bills and my wife had requested it. I wouldn’t have even been paying the bills at the post office but the marvellous new NetBank service that WhichBank
has decided to offer the world costs business accounts $15 a month – so I’d rather do it the inconvenient way than let the bank have any more dosh.

So first I went to pay my tax bill at the post office. I handed over the form and cheque and got back a receipt. Glancing down at the receipt, I noticed it had an extra zero on the amount… Should I say anything? Should I keep shtum? Oh bugger it, they’d only find out anyway, I may as well point it out.

Afterwards, I could’ve easily forgotten about the mission. "Forgetting" is a long treasured art men have mastered whereby they "forget" about something if it’s too difficult. But I didn’t. I went into the fabric shop, my head held high. I boldly approached the counter and asked for the metre of fusible webbing, reading from the bit of paper I’d scribbled it on, holding it up so the shop assistant could see it and wouldn’t get any delusions that I had any idea what I was talking about.

"A metre of fusible webbing please". Despite the bit of paper I said it with force, determined not to get talked into anything else, not to be convinced that I needed a single other product. I’d just get the fusible webbing and go. Nothing would divert me from my cause.

"What thickness?"


"What thickness? Light, medium or heavy? And would you like black or white?"

Oh bugger.

Okay, well, this is where the phone companies should take note. Mobile phones may have a lot of uses, but quite frankly if they can’t convince every man in the world to buy one for using in this precise situation, then they’re just not trying. Because this, more than any other time, is when a man needs his phone. I had no idea what thickness. I didn’t know what the stuff was or what it was used for, let alone whether black or white would be better. Tumours or no tumours from mobile phones, I was going to call home and find out.

And so the answer came back from the Principal Webbing Authority. White, medium thickness. I paid my money, got the webbing, and then I was out of there quicker than… well, quicker than anything.

On the way home I peeked in the bag. So now I know what fusible webbing looks like. Even if I still don’t know what it’s for.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.