Monday, April 30, 2018

Defensive thriving

My wife and I built two pieces of Ikea furniture last week. As a defensive pessimist, I entered the experience determined to keep my expectations comfortably low.

Forty-five minutes spent on hold trying to pin down over the phone a delivery time left me stirred up by dire recordings. Improperly anchored furnishings, I was told repeatedly, might fall and crush me or those I loved. (Turns out this direness may be deserved given the scope of a nearly two-year-old recall...) Thankfully, our low-slung models provided little or no danger.

I proceeded to a new gripe. "There'll probably be pieces missing," I scoffed. Turns out there were, specifically the mattress for the bed, but my wife's persistence rectified that glaring oversight.

Our woes proved to be predictable and easily overcome:
  • One poorly machined screw that we could hand tighten in an easy-to-reach spot
  • Two metal rails whose screw holes didn't align with the unintuitive diagram ("Why don't they use words?" my wife asked.) until we realized that we needed to reverse their sides in the bed frame
  • Fabric wrinkles smoothing themselves out as we speak since we skipped the optional ironing step
We finished our projects slightly ahead of schedule -- a daybed, a desk, and our relationship intact. (Yay, zeugma!) Defensive pessimism never felt so good, or at least not so bad.

9 comments:

  1. Oh my. You survived and have created more than furniture. IKEA construction test the mettle of the most mentally and spiritually stable. Congratulations to you and your steady partner.

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  2. I loved your subtle teaching of zeugma (and yes, I had to follow both links). Keeping expectations low seems to be a key to success when it comes to assembling IKEA furniture (as for me my last few pieces were built by them for a little extra).

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    1. Sometimes "a little extra" is worth a whole lot more than that!

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  3. Nothing brings a relationship to the brink like reading shared directions. Glad you came out relatively unscathed.

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  4. Wondering what a revision of this story would sound like from a character like me who adores this furniture company because of their easy to follow picture directions and well crafted and designed furniture offerings?

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    1. I'd love to hear it, Sally, and then juxtapose our pieces to show how so much writing relies on point of view...

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  5. I am wondering what this story would sound like from the furniture's perspective. Would the daybed have a languid voice? Would the desk have a business-like tone?

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    1. This sounds like high-concept Pixar material, doesn't it?

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  6. This reminds me of a time my daughter and I put together a shelf, totally backwards and ended with my daughter saying she will NEVER build furniture with me again. Heehee

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