On The Love of Doing Stuff Well And Caring For Things

In which I am prompted by events surrounding the previous night’s dinner to explain that Things being Wrong annoy me greatly; I outline something of what happens when they do; I float off into a daydream of how I should prefer to live; and I rant against others’ uncaring attitude towards wooden chopping boards and knives.

What is it about doing things correctly that riles me up so?! Pacing backwards and forewards last night in the kitchen, finding myself thwarted at every turn by things that (I imagine) most people would have not a second glance for, let alone be so disturbed by that they they would be unable to even prepare some dinner. Could I even put some rice on to cook without being filled with something close to revulsion at the poor arrangement of the rice/bean/olive buckets?! A revulsion who’s only remedy is to label the bins properly—no! more: build a better shelving system—but still more!: re-arrange the whole kitchen, replacing all (horrible) laminex with timber and building also racks for drying herbs, tables for bread-kneading… and still it’s never enough. On and on down this road of doing-it-the-right-way I go every time I start to take the smallest interest in Things around me, and although at every turn I feel a little closer there is rarely much satisfaction because a) I can see just a little more that needs to be put to rights, and this is preferable to the other times when b) I am unable—prevented by my friends, my housemates, the landlords, circumstance, whoever, whatever—to do things as I should like to.

Sometimes (whenever I can, to be honest) I let my imagination run free with thoughts of a little cottage—one or two rooms—all of my own and a garden that surrounds it. A workshop with a place for everything and everything in its place, for woodwork of course, and for bicycle maintenance and everything else that I’d like to be able to do. I’d have a nice armchair by a small potbelly, with a book nearby to put my book on and a standard lamp standing paxman’s duty; a footstool, space for a tea tray, prehaps a radio also…

Some find it excessively pedantic, but I like to have straight garden beds, laid out with string, bordered by box prehaps, and no-one can argue with many vegetables and what about a bit of wheat too; it’d be fun to try threshing in my own parlor.

I’ll not go on in that vein this morning, although prehaps I’ll return to these thoughts and paint a fuller picture of this One Possible Life for me (I’ll mention the walk to the train station in the morning to go to work, and the sewing table at which I’d make my three-piece suit). I began this post this morning with the idea of why don’t people care a bit more about the Things around them?!! Why is it always okay for things to be ‘good enough’? I don’t want things to be good enough—I want things to be Right!