that measure is based on what they choose to patch:
some choose their cars;
some, their houses;
or their clothes;
some, their emotions;
or entire lives.
i belive that the more someone is trying to patch things, the more desperate he/she is. that ultimately, patching is a measure of desperation.
for example, the civilized ('civilized' used here instead of less desperate) peoples, like the germans, canadians, and so on, do NOT consider patching at all (well ... not in most cases).
they don't fix a broken car: instead they consider buying a new one;
and they don't patch clothes (that would be a measure of poverty); and besides, clothes are so ... affordable - why patch them when you can get new ones?
in poorer corners of the world (like the arab world, or eastern european worlds), you will see patches on virtually everything:
in romania there's this concept: if you have a man in the house, then you will never need a plumber, nor an electrician, nor an auto-mechanic nor ... an anything else. when i was small this was driving me nuts (aunt coming into our house and telling our grandmother
what do you mean 'call a plumber'? you have two boys right here! put them to work.
the fact that we were males, either automatically qualified us for everything technical, or made us completely useless (because ofcourse there wasn't a need for proffessional work; a patching job would allways do!)
and another example: before romania became a democratic country (well ... more or less democratic as it is), it was a custom for many male citizens (that had cars), to open them up and start working on the engine every saturday or sunday. if you got out on a saturday evening, you were bound to see one or two mr. fix-it with their clothes full of motor-oil, fixing and patching their engines.
and that's not all; if you felt bored and felt like having a nice talk with your neighbours, you went outside, opened your car engine, and waited for ten minutes. within that time, some local neighbourhood expert was definitely going to stop, look inside the engine with you, then ask what was wrong with it, and help you fix it.
so now (since i came here) i find myself in the position of not needing to patch. i went home in september and i had a big problem telling my friends what exactly was depressing me.
i mean: how the hell do you tell your friends
"hey guys, you're living in a pathetic place"?(i mean, how do you say that without sounding stuck-up).
in cluj, i saw a second-hand clothes store near the trainstation; and above it was written in big, bold letters:
second hand clothes
imported from the netherlands
the wrighting style lead you to belive they were selling some save-the-world product; something that would solve all your problems. and people were buying.
that sight depressed me; a lot!; and for a while i couldn't even put my finger on it (i just got depressed without realizing why)
after i came back it took me near a month to get back to my joyfull self.
maybe that's why i enjoy cyprus so much; and i think that's why i don't want to go back.
well, that and scuba; (and friends; and sunny summer; and the sea; and ... but i'm disgressing, so i'll stop here)