i am a rock

Brief respite in some of my freelance projects, as production schedules scramble to
keep up and get switched around and authors have swooning fits and things blow
up and I do not care, too much, because I have worked to catch up and even get
ahead and now, for 24 hours, I am able to breathe freely and maybe
accomplish tasks that aren’t laptop or Internet related, and the feeling of
glorious freedom is heady and making me a little giddy with the world of possibilities
that has flowered before me, as if it is suddenly the glorious warm springtime and
I have, until now, been the cold and barren lonely earth.

what I’ve been doing is dishes. And paying the bills. And taking out the
garbage, and cleaning the house and changing the cat litter and trying to make
the vacuum cleaner work and kicking it and hopping around the room like I’m in
a sitcom and the laugh track is just going nuts. I dusted. I went to the bank. I was industrious, and I went through all the
things on my to-do list, except for the one thing I really wanted to do, which
was put my bed frame together. It’s been
sitting in the hallway in giant boxes, and leaning against the fireplace in
long thin boxes for almost a week since our trip to IKEA, now, while I’ve continued
sleeping on a mattress on the floor and feeling very short and poor and
college-student-esque, which has not gone any way toward making me feel like a

done everything I haven’t wanted to do for weeks, in order to not put the thing
together. I even came really close to calling my student loan company to
straighten out my payment schedule, but I am not really that committed to
procrastination, even though it was deeply tempting. The last time I tried to
put together some IKEA furniture was this past weekend, actually. The guys
cleaned out the computer room, and I went to work on assembling the very easy
to assemble desk–four legs, which screwed into, more or less, a big plank.

E came out from the computer room to find me flung across the desk top, sobbing
my heart out. “Oh my god! What’s wrong?” “I can’t do it!” I wailed. “I ruin
everything!” Because the pressboard was incredibly dense, the holes for the screws
very, very small, my upper body strength more or less nonexistent, and my
capacity for stress and setbacks pretty much pathetic. He took the screwdriver
away from me, and sent me to the kitchen for food, because I am a mess when my
blood sugar is low. And so I have been eying the boxes full of my bed trepedatiously,
because I do not want to be full of fail, and I think if I have another
meltdown over pressboard furniture, I should just go ahead and give up on

I ran out of things to put it off, and went and got a pair of kitchen scissors.
I drug my mattress out into the hallway, and moved my giant dresser and kicked
my pile of shoes out of the way (which should have gone on my to-do list,
actually) and cleared out a space in the middle of the room, and started
tearing open these boxes, until I had everything assembled in a pile, and I
looked just like the sad little man in the instruction booklet, looking at the
stack of pieces and feeling very sad about his immediate and lonely
future. I noticed that the booklet was
short, the steps actually pretty simple, and thought that this should be a
breeze, making myself a real bed with a headboard and a footboard. Then I
flipped back to the front, realized that the sad little man was exed out. Next
to him, a picture of two little men shaking hands over the pile of pieces. The
bed requires friendship to assemble! That’s so nice. But right now, I am alone,
thank you, and I am independent and brave. Where is my electric screwdriver?

Forty-five minutes later: Fine, IKEA. Fine! Tell me how to live my life. I can’t do
it alone. It requires help. Are you
trying to tell me something about human nature? Am I suddenly suspended,
full of wonderment and awe, in the middle of a Simon and Garfunkel song,
weeping at the terrible sadness and tragic beauty of its words? God help me. I am going to
go sleep on the futon.

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