Every time the car breaks down or the washing machine overflows, I have the same thought. I think into the ether, with a weary mix of patience and exasperation, “no, you don’t understand…I don’t want to deal with this right now.” The ether never listens.
As I suspected, the screws that hold the frame to the headboard had sheered away flush. I’m guessing this bed was made in the 1920s at the latest, so it’s had its share of stresses. Especially since the side rails were from a different bed and didn’t quite fit.
I’d hate to lose it. I paid $15 for the head- and footboard in 1980. It’s some kind of hardwood (I’m not very good at wood) with a lightly decorative veneered pattern. It’s nice. It’s very, very small. Sometimes hilariously too small for the requirements. My prior bed was a giant cruise ship of a thing, stacked at the four corners with books. So I was looking for an ascetic effect this time.
I know what you’re thinking: what kind of atheist sleeps under a crucifix? Answer: an insufferably affected one. I found it in a junk store; it matched the wood of the bed; it was handsome; it complemented the “hermit’s cell” theme. I’ve subsequently learned it’s an excellent way to gauge if the bed has shifted sideways. Also, I think it creeps people out — always a plus.
I have this fantasy it’ll come loose some night and smack me in the skull. Apostate Impaled on Religious Symbol. I doubt it would really have penetrating force; surely it would hit the headboard first and lose momentum. Still, Eye Poked Out by Jesus is good, too. I like poetic justice, especially at my own expense.
The other three corners of the bed are still solid, so I decided my best bet was to prop up the busted corner. It was that or sleep on a mattress on the floor, which is a tad too Bohemian even for me, particularly when I caught sight of the crap under the bed that would have to be Dealt With somehow.
I decided to stack books under the bum corner. Lord knows I’m drowning in them. I needed 9 1/8″ worth of literature (that’s 55 picas, for those of you paying attention). My criteria were size, sturdiness, expendability and evidence of prior damage.
Those who sacrifice themselves on the altar of my inertia, I salute you. Michener, Caribbean. Never read Michener. I was never that bored for that long. Through a Glass Darkly, by Some Lady. I gather this is one of those historical novels that trace the history of one British (or Colonial family) through multiple generations, or millenia, or incarnations… or whatever. I never got around to it. Nicholas Nickleby — good book, bad edition. From the Age of Newsprint. Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. It pissed me off about fifty pages in. I forget why. I never finished it. And William Safire’s Freedom. Which might be a good book, for all I know. I can say for sure this edition looks like something large and surly chewed it meditatively for a while before taking a huge whiz on it. I won’t be cuddling up to this some dark and stormy night.
And there you have it — recipe for disaster! Join me waiting for the inevitable engineering collapse. I promise to blog about it, if Jesus doesn’t break my nose.