Spending the afternoon building a bed is an opportunity not only for construction but also for reflection. Or even rebuilding a bed – because what was there at the end was mostly already there to begin with. However, as with a recipe, the same ingredients can create a variety of outcomes. Flour, water and a few extras can make a Victoria Sponge or a thick glue – each has its usefulness; it’s a question of what is intended.
No one can intend an uncomfortable bed, however, but that had been the situation for the three weeks since moving in. Having cabled almost every electrical device in the house (the subject of a future blogpost perhaps, for in cabling there lies philosophy) there could be no further excusing a bad back and a stiff neck; the bed was bad and needed attention.
So many lessons, so many benefits derive from such pastimes. First, unhindered thought – next week’s Loeb talk was soon formed in conceptual draft (now for the Powerpoint…). Second, the pleasure of failure – or rather the joy of incremental learning and improving through failure. In one instance, this took the form of humping a spare mattress upstairs, then down again (easier) having realised that, although slightly more comfortable, it didn’t fit. In another, the trial and error of building up a central support for the bed frame, each iteration of which involved rolling up, removing, replacing and rolling out the bed slats. Then, having thought it perfected, realising a gap remained that nullified all prior efforts.
Failure needs time to appreciate. It is never enjoyable at the time – only afterwards, when realisation kicks in about the lesson that has been learned.
And the best thing of all? When all is done with building a bed, the only thing to do is to lie down and enjoy it!