Some Assembly Required

Bryon’s drift boat project is taking shape. Bryon, Matt and Steve got it partially put together over the weekend.

I can never envision what most projects will look like completed. I need to see pictures. Without pictures to use for reference, bad things happen. Like, you might paint your entire kitchen trim hot pink because it seemed like a good idea, and that hot pink looked like a nice mauve on the paint chip. You might have had some indications early on in the painting that it was not looking so good, but you just kept going thinking it would dry differently or look better when it was ALL painted. It does not. Not that I’ve done that, just saying it’s a possibility when you don’t have big picture vision.

To complete a project like this takes lots of attention to detail, lots of patience and the ability to follow directions. Very complicated directions. I used to think I was good at following directions. I preached and preached it to my students. I gathered up lots of job applications from all around town and made them fill them out to perfection. I created other little direction following tasks from recipes to more complicated projects in an effort to reinforce how important following direction is in a person’s daily life.

For all of that preaching, I have discovered that I actually hate following directions. Much like editing, no matter how many times I read over those directions, I usually miss something vital. I try reading through for the overall feel and plan of the project. I gather my materials. I start with step one, but then, inevitably somewhere I go awry. The best laid plans and all that.

Most of the time it’s not unrecoverable. Sometimes it is. I spent about three hours putting together this bookcase by myself. The directions were perfect. Each piece was carefully labeled. The hardware was impeccably labeled and separated by step. Seriously, it was the best I had ever seen. Still, I finished with a key piece on the top and back of the case and another on the front bottom facing trim that were backward. I also managed to drill holes into them both trying to make them fit.

I took the thing back apart and then covered up my mistakes with a black Sharpie. You probably couldn’t even tell now. My brain is just not analytical that way. I want to skip a head. Get into the middle of the action. See some progress. I can’t watch the pot boil; I just want to eat the stew.

I think that’s a pretty good lesson to learn about yourself and life in general. Sometimes things work out okay. Sometimes they don’t. Either way, you can usually salvage something good and workable from the experience. That’s just life I guess.

Some assembly required.


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