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Lee Krasner: NIGHT WATCH (1960)
"Life's open-ended."

Overall, I'd testify that taking stuff apart tends to be much more satisfying than putting stuff BackTogetherAgain. Tearing down satisfies the little boy in me since it hints at destruction. I guess a part of every little boy secretly wants to be The Incredible Hulk and trash the place without recrimination or remorse. Reassembling can be exacting and challenge even the very patient since it holds out the promise of perfection or something like it. It seems too easy to presume an outcome unlikely to be achieved then blame myself for falling short. Taking apart's successful when entropy peaks. BackTogetherAgain might never be achievable.

I say that BackTogetherAgain "might never be achievable" when I know for certain that it's almost always absolutely unachievable, and at all other times, only relatively so.
I believe that while BackTogetherAgain might serve as a common intention, it also serves as an equally uncommon achievement. First, this universe operates exclusively in one direction. It's repertoire explicitly excludes "back" as an operative direction. We might say that we go "back" home, but we actually just go "over" there, and we inevitably arrive after we left, the "back" we left behind having dissipated upon our departure. It might sooth us to believe that a "back" exists, but our transmission's stuck in forward and we cannot back up.

So BackTogetherAgain seems to be an illusion. When I was a kid, I disassembled an old vacuum cleaner motor thinking that I might be able to fix it. The old house I grew up in featured an unorthodox electrical circuit in the basement, a 110 outlet wired for 220 juice. This was a homemade adaptation having something to do with the pump that drew water from our well, but there was nothing one could determine by looking at that outlet that might have hinted at the additional voltage offered within. My mom had innocently plugged her vacuum cleaner into that outlet. The vacuum cleaner's motor ran extremely fast for about thirty seconds before seizing up in a shower of sparks. I understood that taking things apart served as the primary means for fixing broken things, so I set about disassembling that motor. I never did figure out how to reassemble it nor did disassembly offer the slightest hint of how to fix it. Once disassembled, that motor became my eternal nemesis, for it remembered my failure to fix it and seemed to take some joy in reminding me of it. BackTogetherAgain never happened that time.

Come to think of it, I've never once witnessed it happening. I suppose that jewelers must manage to put disassembled watches BackTogetherAgain, or convince their customers that they have. I have not shared that experience. I might get the item back into its original box, but I will have some packing left over. It won't really matter. I avoid working on anything mechanical, anything with moving parts which might require certain tolerances, for these prove essentially impossible for a guy like me to recreate. I hire a mechanic.

Mounting my much-vaunted refurbished doors back onto their frames, I encounter the lowly but powerful hinge. Fabricated from strap metal, each proves a little different. They hold, by way of what are called knuckles and a pin, the door to the door frame. They are notorious for needing tuning. Hang a door and it'll likely not quite fit like you expected it to. Time then to tune. A knuckle might be bent, backwards or forward depending, to affect a slightly different hang. Or, the bed where the hinge has been screwed into might need deepening, chisel work, or shallowing by means of a shim, work where microns translate into more meaningful distances. The latch side where the strike plate's hung, also might prove out of alignment. More points of failure exist than points of resolution. One wrestles a door into eventual submission, with the ever-popular second order acceptance often resorted to. Who will notice if the door's yaw remains a tiny bit questionable. There is no perfection, only 'perfect enough.' There is likewise no BackTogetherAgain, only moving forward, which will never provide closure. Life's open-ended.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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