Saturday, February 6, 2010

Such A Mechanism

Never again do I buy furniture to be assembled. When I look at directions I break out in a rash. I know I’m in trouble when they are written in French and Japanese and even the English is not one I’m fluent in.

I empty the pre-cut wood on the carpet and then open the plastic bag of screws, nuts, dowels, nails, pins and handles. Step one says to tap the hinge pins in the top panel. An hour later I think I’ve figured out which of eleven pieces of wood is the top panel. What would hurt if they labeled it as such? And by the way what’s a hinge pin?

Already I’m thinking of inviting friend, Dave, over for spaghetti dinner, and while you’re here, Dave could you give me a hand with this simple cabinet.

No, this time I’m going to fight my way through, even though my father gave me no coping skills to deal with it all. In fact he passed along whatever it is about my heritage that fumbles and bumbles with all things mechanical. Ever since we built the pyramids we had nothing more to prove.

The word is inept but I don't want to over-sell it. I have had flashes of ept. I've mastered light bulbs and can change the paper toweling. I’m able to set our clock back in the fall but only indoors. Forget about the car.

Later the next day I’m finished. Don’t ask what those left over screws are doing on the floor. It’s not good but it’s good enough. Then I try moving it and one of the doors breaks off in my hands.

Never again. It’s not worth regressing back to seventh grade shop class where, if there were any justice in this world, I would still be; left back for the sixty-fifth consecutive year. I can almost see myself shaving yet another piece of wood to get it straight, square and smooth.

If I didn’t level those bumps and groves maybe its because I love the deckled edge. I let them rise and fall and damn the perpendicular. Sputters and stumbles were all I had and I wouldn’t give them up then or now, anymore than the moon could give up its craters.

Much as I enjoy the irregular life I do envy the guy with the DNA who peers unblinkingly into the dark, undaunted by hot wires or hard drives and fiddles knowingly past the bolt that fastens the levers upon which the universe pivots. These are the menders and makers. If the world went up in a poof they could do it all over again from a handful of dust.

1 comment:

  1. I can identify. I have exactly the same problems. A year or so we bought a lovely yet inexpensive bookshelf that was 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide. I believe it came in a box that was 8 inches by 12 inches. Inside was a box with the shelf stuff and a box with nuts, bolts and screws. Instructions in Swedish and very bad English.

    I employed an excellent and speedy handyman to assemble it. He did a fine job but the assembly coast more than the bookcase.