Putting things together takes a surprising amount of concentration. Those thin sheets of paper with the directions on them are like a confusing road map, detailing all the twists and turns you have to make in order to come out with the desk or chair or whatever you just bought from Ikea.
There are a million different kinds of hardware to attach to 500 different pieces of wood or metal. There's a guideline there, steps in order to lead you to the ultimate success of a sturdy table or chair.
But sometimes you don't follow those guidelines. you go out of order, because you think you can somehow outsmart the directions. You use the wrong screws, you strip a few of them. You forget to add a panel.
And suddenly you're left with a monster, something that was never meant to be built, but somehow still stands.
Not all writing desks are created equal, and I was looking for the cheapest one. At 35.00, a Wal Mart desk that could pass for an Ikea masterpiece was just enough. Armed with a screwdriver and some good old fashioned elbow grease. I tried to put something together.
Boy was I in for a journey.
It took me several minutes to even orient the pieces, because there were so many of them. I ended up using the wrong screws for at least three steps.
Over three hours and a few angry beers I ended up with a desk. It wasn't perfect, and it wasn't correct, but it worked. The front of it was completely wrong, I ended up having to leave off the drawer panel completely because I didn't have the right screws. I had pounded those into the back of the wrong panel hours ago. Even though there were a few problems, it was fine. Functional. Sturdy and okay looking...it seemed to get the job done.
I put my laptop on it, a couple of pens and my notebook. It made me happy, to see something I created, being of some use. Much like the writing, it's good to know that you're being useful. Use is important in life.
Right now, at 23 years old...I think missed a few steps in the directions. I lost a few screws over the years, didn't have the right tools to create a masterpiece. Skipped around a bit, went to the side that wasn't in English and somehow held up.
We all take a little bit of liberty with the directions right? People are always trying to tell you how to be, or who to be, or what to do. People all have their ideal build. Their perfect set of directions, and sometimes we just get off track. We don't have the concentration to follow step by step. Or we see that someone else took a short cut, and went from step 2 to step 12 in like...half the time.
And we get jealous. We try to copy other people's sets of directions in hopes that we too can follow their success. The only problem is, we can't understand them. Not every desk is the same. They're different lengths, sizes, colors, shapes and they cost different amounts.
Each set of directions might be the "best" or "right" way technically, but that doesn't mean you should follow them. People customize their lives as they see fit. And there is no shame in that. Who cares if the screws are all in the right place? Loose screws build character.