Loose Screws

I recently purchased a treadmill and it was delivered to my house. I know I understood I had to put it together, but I don’t think I fully wrapped my brain around this concept. I also think I was just a bit grandiose in my ability to manage this project.  To construct means: to combine parts, systematically arranging, to build. I do all these things rather poorly. I don’t even cook or throw dinner parties due to these weaknesses. I just can’t. My time management is poor and my organizational skills are worse. Actually, cooking for a holiday dinner gives me almost as much anxiety as being pulled out to sea in a riptide while hearing the tsunami warning horns blaring off in the distance.  Just the thought of this exhausts me. I believe building a treadmill might be the same thing as throwing a dinner party, minus handling the screws.

When the delivery truck pulled up I was excited and anxious at the same time. Let’s not confuse the two. These are totally different states of energy. I know this as an obsessive kind of person who treads through a healthy amount of apprehension on the daily.  After the delivery men left, I still remained magically optimistic and hopeful that maybe when I opened the box the machine would already be put together and it was just in its folded upright position. Of course my childish optimism faded with the cutting of the cardboard and I was left feeling a bit impotent.  Very similarly, I feel the same when I’m handed a new Apple device and am told about its capabilities and of its storage capacity. Terabyte? Wait, isn’t that a type of dinosaur?

In spite if myself, I opened the instruction manuel and laid the parts out, mainly in an attempt to fool myself. Perhaps, if my body acts like it knows what it’s doing, my brain will just go along with it. I followed the steps, each one. Until I get to step 14. I was supposed to have a stabilization bar, in which the console is theoretically to rest upon, but no. I read if you don’t have all the parts I am to STOP. Well, I think I was already three hours committed, which is too far my dear instruction manuel to just quit. And I have put enough Target  furniture together in the past two years to have some realization that sometimes there are variations between what is in the manuel and what is in the actual box. However, I did have a few moments of…well, I guess this is how it all ends, with the urge to just pack my bags and light a match and just be done with it. As the case may be, I might be the only person who has fantasies of just burning my house to the ground when it’s too dirty or when I take on a project that spirals into disaster much like this one .

With parts scattered all over the garage, I retraced all my steps thinking I might have carried off this stabilization bar to some other part of my house. I looked for it along with my stability for a period of time that seemed appropriate. I mean, just last week I found a lost coffee mug in my garden, so my ability to carry things off is part of my daily struggle. The commercials about early stage dementia often catch my attention for obvious reasons.

I looked everywhere and deep down knew this stabilization bar did not exist, yet I believed in it like I did in Santa. I knew this machine could be put together without it and it was meant to be put together without it, but the mere mention of it filled my already low mechanical self esteem with even more self doubt, which led me to curse the manufactures and my doubting self. And to have so many extra screws was worrisome. I continued to put the entire machine together and got to step 24 and then realized I forget to tighten some necessary screws at step 16 and had to take everything apart until then. Rest assured, those forgotten screws at step 16 are tight, cause they were tightened with a calm, quiet rage.

I worked for more hours than I like to admit putting that machine together that day. I did curse some, but mainly I did in a low mumbling tone. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse, actually. I almost finished up that night, but just could not get the last two screws in. I’m not sure if it was because I lost the good light of the day or if it was because my hands just failed to hold the screw driver properly after all those hours. I did try several times and I just could not get the screws to go where they were suppose to go, so instead of dropping a match to it and walking away in slow motion, I just put the screw driver down and grabbed a glass of wine and some Tylenol. Those two loose screws were not a problem when I finally screwed them in the following morning. And it’s not all the unused and loose screws left astray on the floor that bother me.  I think it’s the loose ones running on it that troubles me the most.

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