Clean Your Mind, Build A Bench


On Tuesday I trundled home, exhausted from work, and was received by the welcoming arms of the Birthgiver. As we continued to exchange stories of the day, she pointed out the piles of wood I had spotted in our hall. The same way I walk into a book store and always end up with a new book, she can not walk out of the warestore without a new thing. She's genetically incapable of doing otherwise. Usually those trifles are cat statues, or tiny plants. This time she chose that it would be a bench. Before she could ask, I had volunteered to put it together.

However, when the bank holiday rolled on I wasn't anywhere near putting a screw on a stupid piece of wood. I still wanted to be the one who would put this thing together; I have a small pet peeve when it comes to fiddling and creating new things.  But Thursday was not my day, because life insisted on roughening me up. While I was busy with the very important task of lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself, the Birthgiver piled the pieces of wood on top of each other, and started to figure out what would go where. Meanwhile, I quietly seething with rage because how dare she put it together without me?

Then I heard something heavy drop onto the floor and decided that feeling sorry for myself could wait. I rolled out of bed to see if she had chopped off her arm by accident, and when I discovered that she hadn't made sure that all her arms would stay on.

Quicker than I thought it possible, I had taken the Operation Create Bench under my command. The Birthgiver held pieces in place - because you needed four arms anyway - while I screwed some bolts. Together we figured out how to put this piece in, and Jesus, I hope that wasn't the wrong way around? Yes, it would be amusing to end up with a bench where two of the legs would be upside-down. But that wouldn't be very practical ...

The strange thing I discovered while building the humble bench was that not once did I think about a thing that bothered me. While I was screwing the screw - eloquent as ever - my full concentration was on the screw. When I tried to figure out if I should glue this piece first or the other one, I thought about that and the possible consequences of my options. When I collected the bolts, I was busy counting them. Then I had to make sure that not all of the glue would end up on the floor - or any as my mother insisted. Briefly we had to search for the right hammer, only to get any even bigger hammer afterwards.

The rather simple task of following a pictograph and putting a bench together cleaned my mind. At least for the moment. Of course I hadn't forgotten the reason why I wallowed around in self-pity, but having achieved a thing as well, it didn't feel like a all-consuming problem any longer.
After all I had managed to hammer, screw, and glue a bench together. One that didn't end up with two legs upside-down, and it could carry my mother's and my weight.

The Bench Of Victory
Putting things together is a very calming exercise, it's like those drawing books, you only think of the one thing. Somehow at the same time your brain manages to convince yourself that it's not all as horrible as it had been when you wallowed around in self-pity. Furthermore, you learn a rather important skill. It will come in handy when I put my first IKEA furniture together, and it won't actually fall apart. Yet.

Let's just hope that I won't end up with a pile of self-made benches, but nowhere to put them ...

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