On Saturday, we bought a bathroom vanity from Bunnings. It was cheaper by a third with the caveat that it came in flat-pack format. The last time I assembled a flat-pack was over 6 years ago. I’d forgotten that experience until I took the vanity home and unfolded the double-sided A3 sheet of instructions.
I was never one of those kids that loved putting things together. When I was nine or so, some well meaning adult gave me a model plane kit. Even though I’ve no idea now if I built the thing, I can still vividly recall the sheer horror of those tiny plastic bits held together in a frame, the small tube of glue and the instructions printed on very thin paper.
Poring over the vanity instructions, that same horror flooded over me. The core of it boiled down to this: mistakes are irrevocable. Unlike code, old-school Lego and text, the messy physical realm is not forgiving of mis-steps. Every assembly instruction, assuming that they have been tested thoroughly by a panic-stricken fumble-fingered unskilled person, must be followed to the letter. And this particular assembly actually required some drilling! Once a hole has been drilled, there’s no going back. It has to be PERFECTLY placed the first time. A hole in the wrong spot means that I’ve effectively FLUSHED 200 DOLLARS DOWN THE DRAIN. What was I even thinking?
Anyway, eventually I calmed down and after 3 or 4 hours the vanity is assembled with some slightly crooked drawers which nonetheless close and open smoothly enough. My partner claims she can’t tell they are not level but I certainly can.