Briefly noted

Bim Ad Adewunmi

The Guardian - Weekend - - Tim & Bim -

I built a desk. OK, fine – I as­sem­bled one from the care­fully mea­sured and cut pieces of cheap, painted MDF that ar­rived in a slim but sturdy card­board box. But in my mind, I felled a mighty teak tree, be­fore carv­ing, lac­quer­ing and buff­ing it into a desk at which I can now sit and ru­mi­nate on the larger ques­tions of life, all from a corner of my liv­ing room. You can’t con­vince me oth­er­wise.

Blame the count­less hours

I have poured into view­ing home­im­prove­ment shows over the years ( bless Chang­ing Rooms, my first ro­mance in the field), but there’s noth­ing I love more than in­te­rior de­sign. It is eas­ily the thing I am most in­ter­ested in, with­out hav­ing a sin­gle thing to qual­ify me for it. For years, my sis­ter and I as­sem­bled shelves, book­cases, shoe racks and en­ter­tain­ment cen­tres as a nec­es­sary hobby (we couldn’t af­ford even mildly ex­pen­sive pre-as­sem­bled fur­ni­ture), a hobby that slowly evolved into flat­pack love.

I’m one of those peo­ple who fol­lows the in­struc­tions to the let­ter. I lay out ev­ery piece, with a pen­cil ei­ther stuck be­hind my ear or gripped be­tween my teeth, and then I check them off against the pam­phlet. I grab a screw­driver, pre­pare my workspace, cue up the YouTube tu­to­rial video, put on an ap­pro­pri­ate TV show or playlist, and then, when I’m sit­ting com­fort­ably, I be­gin. It’s like a form of med­i­ta­tion.

The re­sult­ing desk, white and, sur­pris­ingly, seem­ingly solid, feels like a re­ward, on two lev­els. I did this with my own two hands! Hard work al­most al­ways feels good. But on an­other, more press­ing level, my back has won the lot­tery. No more will I tran­scribe from bed, hunched and bat­ting away twinges. At least, that’s the the­ory. Check back in two weeks.

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