Friday 23 March 2018

Working it out: I have been working flat (-pack) out

Flatpack hell can have an effect on people
Flatpack hell can have an effect on people

John Masterson

I have had a tough week. Most things I encounter, I can cope with fairly well. I don't really do stress. I don't worry too much either. It is just such a waste of energy. Either you can do something about it, in which case you should get on with it, or you cannot, in which case there is not much point in torturing yourself and losing sleep. I do have the occasional sleepless night. About once every decade. I am boringly even-tempered most of the time.

I was in my normal, unstressed disposition, and in shopping mode, when I examined a couch, decided it would work, and paid my money. Assembling it from a collection of flat-packs couldn't be that difficult. Somehow, I had managed to forget my last excursion into flat-pack hell. A friend moved house and bought three bedside lockers. She invited me over for a meal and, almost as an aside, asked me to come half an hour early and assemble them. "You are good at that sort of thing," was how she put it.

I abandoned the first one before the meal was ruined. I had laid everything out on the floor and, after an hour, still couldn't do what the drawing said to do. My blood pressure must have been off the scale. I cursed and swore like a sailor. When my hostess asked if I needed some help, she received a torrent of abuse that she did not deserve and, were we married, would have constituted grounds for divorce. I had recently learned that vulgar French term of abuse, 'putain', and I suspect it escaped my lips more than once. She did, fortunately, understand. She too had visited flat-pack hell and knew what it does to a person. She guessed I would return to normal when I finally figured it out. Which I did around midnight, when I had the benefit of a few glasses of wine. I returned later in the week and by the time I had got to the third one, it was a piece of cake. That third one was the memory that was still with me as I began to empty the boxes of bits that, at some stage in the future, would look like the couch in the showroom. Maybe. It took me the best part of the week.

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