On Furniture…

Moving it, rearranging it, wrinkles, flat-pack-language, fear, stuff, unhelpful phrases, bedrooms, tea & baby elephants…

elephant_swim_07I like my sense of all things random to be ordered, which isn’t to say their appearance always need be. Upheaval and periodic change is an unavoidable constituent of life; and try as I might to slow it down, at some point a good heaving is inevitable. So when it comes,I like it like I like my piles; I like them to develop over time so I don’t notice them at first— and by the time I feel there is just-cause to say something about them— I just do something about them and leave the ‘saying’ to other ‘like’-minded individuals. Preferably those who like that kind of thing.

When I’m informed that my world is going to be ‘transformed’— small, big— it doesn’t matter, naturally, my first thoughts are of my world being heaved-up. Quite how far and in what manner it’s to be thrust is largely irrelevant— what goes up, must come down. I can always sense catastrophe is imminent— and sure enough, the ‘secret vein’i that tells me so, begins to throb wildly.

It just so happens this was one of those times, I felt the vein and sure enough, when I probed further and discovered new furniture was on the way to afford me more space— my nesting-principals began to shudder also. I’m not one for unnecessary wildlife smilies, but I felt like a squirrel might, upon discovering his secret cache of nuts had been eaten. The very idea that ‘stuff’ would have to be moved out and then moved back was dawning slowly upon me, despite being explicitly terrifying, it also had horrific undertones— just for good measure: it multiplies you see: the stuff.

Bedrooms thus, appear to made from the same substance as that famous nanny’s carpet bag. It eats things. And they don’t even have to be your own. It’s ridiculous when you think about it, but there are no known laws or governing principles which adequately describe the phenomena.

But that’s besides the point because it always gets to the point when you’ve got to unload your ‘stuff’ to get at the furniture you’ll be replacing; and find you need two rooms to store it in; and the landing between them; and then there’s the sitting room and the small corner of the kitchen that never seems to be used for anything. And if that’s not enough, it’s round about this time the twitching begins.

However, if you look at it in this way your enthusiasm for it will wan— which is hardly surprising. I don’t even like packing. There is an easy part of course, it’s not all bad— but that’s all over once the delivery finally shows. It’s just shudders from there-in out.

Constructing the new units should’ve be a pleasurable experience. A visceral act allowing me to purge certain irregularities of thought with power tools. It should have, yes. But designers feel obliged to include certain elements in their designs that not only refuse us of our right to purge— but create entirely new ones. This is I’m sure— in the hope that if a paddy or wobbly is thrown during fabrication, it’s thrown in the direction of what it is that’s being put together— so a new one must be bought— and the anger can be spread out indefinitely.

I believe then, that half the battle is delegation. Since you need ideally, three, perhaps four sets of hands to realistically complete one of these tasks without feeling obligated to swear at it or anyone else within range— which on occasion, could mean anywhere in the region of four to five households. I find that knowing what each of the two hands I do have at my disposal are doing at any one time— and more importantly, what they will do— or as is usually the case— what they are supposed to do, is far more important.

Take the slats for the new shelves for instance. They’re supposed to slot into the runners and just stay put long enough to be fixed into place by a screw: They do not, because that would be all to easy. They either all go in first time and behave until you show the drill to them— at which point they become startled and leap out which means hiding the drill from them and starting over; or you have one tricky one that seems to be testing your patience by seeing how far you can be pushed, by refusing to move no matter how hard you seem to; only to allow you to succeed in manoeuvring the awkward one into place at the expense of disturbing all the others. This is when you discover you were being observed— and for quite some for time it seems— struggling.

It is a curious thing, to become suddenly aware that you could have been in a position of smug completion as opposed to a bundle of nerves ready to launch the offending pieces of wood far, far away. Because they always say the same thing: I was frightened to ask…

To that I can contain rational judgement— but I generally tend not to and indulge instead, in a far more resounding ‘bollocks and fuck’, in a pronunciation somewhat scattered and aimed at no-one in particular— but at the same time to anyone close enough to hear it.

It’s at this point I decide to abandon my task and drink tea in the hope of expectorating visions of setting light to people, laughing. But the madness concludes with madness until certain phrases become familiar to the point of over-use:

  • Let me have a look at it…

  • It’s perfectly simple…

  • Surely not…

  • It can’t possibly!

  • Why have they done it like that?

  • Fucking thing!

  • NOOOO!

  • For God’s sake, just leave it alone…

  • I know what I’m doing!

  • Ouch, shit, fuck— bollocks!

  • You do it then…

And so on…

Naturally, to avoid predictability I cut myself eight pieces of cheese to protect me from such a fate— each approximately 5x10x30mm and eat them with the back of a curved knife.

Since the slats had been constructed the day before to form part of the shelves, and the wardrobe had been constructed with few casualties— it was time to clamber over the little space I had left, in order to move or dismantle the existing furniture. And since it defied its appearance by weighing about the same as a baby elephant, I made the decision to trade the screw-driver for a series of heavy thwacks to its joints with a 5lb yellow fibre-glass handled, double-dipped masonry lump-hammer and hacking knife— thus weakening it sufficiently without destroying it; allowing me to remove it piece by piece. It was never going to be used again so I considered the battering I administered, pay-back for the previous day’s sweating and bad language.

That part was at least fun. Getting the new stuff in was not— not because it was overly heavy or cumbersome, despite having to negotiate the over-spill— but because it wouldn’t fit. You’ll have to imagine my disgruntlement; something the TV didn’t have to, nor the bin and neither did the two slippers that made up the pair. But to their credit, they did have the good sense to detach themselves from my feet before going flying. Granted, they did so at an inconvenient time, but had they not have, they too would have been copping unfortunate ones.

There was no way round it. Dismantling was out of the question, my voice was becoming hoarse; I was intolerably thirsty and any minute soon, I’d be surrounded by cretins. I decided to stop and have some more tea before returning to the grounds being stomped upon by impudent pieces wood.

CDs went flying in the direction of the bed followed by the DVD player, books and assorted non-specific papers. The monitor displaying an AOL login page joined the party to the right of the now hidden guitar— though it was doing its best to return to the chair by sliding slowly towards the ground. I solved this by balancing the chair on top of it and hoped that God would intervene to keep it there. Next it was the clothes that went for a trip , before the turn of the delightful piece of rogue ‘wicker’ I had discovered stowed away somewhere or other. The rest of the obstructions were cleared in much the same way you’d remove water from a sinking boat— though in my experience a breach can be stemmed— and water doesn’t use nearly so many expletives.

With the new found room, I teased the items into place, admired them and then surveyed the monstrous state of the remaining artefacts and swore a little more. I think ‘for fuck’s sake!’ was uttered under every breath— sometimes more, but with an eye on the prize and the other one twitching away madly— I managed to swathe away my denial-complex until the job— on the face of it— was complete.

I say ‘on the face of it’, because it was so, only thanks to a little creativity— meaning I hid a great many of the things I could no longer bare the sight of in a large box, then secured it away from my line of sight: what the eye don’t see, blah blah blah.

They say, ‘a job worth doing is a job worth doing well’— well, yes and no. If it’s worth doing at all, you’re better off letting someone else doing it. How and why anyone would chose to move house more than once in their lifetime is beyond me.

Bedrooms are my absolute limit.

Period— the end…

i For future reference, my secret vein and wrinkles of deep persuasion are located on the left hand side of my upper forehead and around, so as to be tickling my left temple. Like pain, they are there to inform me of stuff.

image: Odd Stuff Magazine

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