Since I recently purchased my apartment, I decided to reward myself with another purchase: a much-needed desk. It’s one I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and when it went on sale, I knew it was time. I deserve to be able to write like a civilized grown up, I thought, rather than hunched over my laptop on my sofa.
Fast forward to me arriving home at 10:30 one evening to find two very tall boxes waiting for me in the lobby of my building. Fortunately they weren’t too heavy, so I slid them into the elevator, then slid them to my front door, then slid them into my living room. I didn’t want to leave the boxes cluttering up the space, so at 11pm I decided, “I’m going to put this together!”
This was during the heatwave, so I began sweating profusely the minute I opened my tool kit (that’s right, I have a tool kit). I took out the many little baggies of screws and bolts that came with the desk, laid the five wooden pieces on the floor, and found the instruction booklet. Looking at the front of the booklet, I saw the special note:
The note says: “Two people are required to safely assemble this product.”
I scoffed. I’ll show you, Crate & Barrel. I can do this by myself. Why, I have a tool kit–with a level! I can do anything!
And I did. It took about an hour, during which time I had to use all four limbs at a time to keep the desk balanced, making me look like some sort of overheating spider monkey. I had a foot over there to balance the bottom leg, a hand up here to balance the top leg, an elbow here to hold a shelf steady while I screw it in place, the screwdriver held between my teeth while I search in my tool kit for the right screw head (it would have been too simple if all the screws for the desk were the same). But by midnight, drenched in sweat and hair disheveled, I had assembled a desk. I carried it to its spot against the wall by the window and admired my handiwork.
Yes, I had assembled a desk. Well done, Shelley. Well done.
As I cleaned up, putting all the cushioned wrapping into the now empty boxes, collecting the extra screws, and placing my tools neatly back into the kit, a thought nagged at me. Yes, I had assembled the desk by myself, and had done it safely. Two people weren’t required for the job. But…two people would have been nice.
I’ve proven to myself in many ways that I’m capable. When it comes down to it, though, even if I could assemble the desk all by myself, it would have been nice to have someone there to hand me the screws, help balance that top leg, or wipe the beads of sweat from my forehead. Someone to celebrate with me, no matter how small or large the accomplishment. And I find myself wanting to be able to support someone in the same way.
I don’t need a second person to put together a desk. But I’d like to find someone to have my sweaty back.
This thought was in the back of my head as I went to a first date four days later. But that’s another story.