Homefull 1.6: Leveling

Like any ninety year old, nothing’s level in this place. Some floors seem to defy gravity, others long ago surrendered to it. Our mostly hand-me-down furniture hasn’t passed for square in at least a generation, so we’re becoming expert melders. Intricacies define this game. The goal: fool the eye.

Yesterday, we moved the hutch into its better position. Little lifting required. I nudged the monster up enough for The Muse to slip cardboard under each end, then it slid easily across the floor. Two more nudges and the cardboard slipped back out to reveal that highboy leaning a fair bit front-ways. This morning, a few minutes with a prybar and shims, and it looks dead level both ways. I’m hoping it won’t seem too square for its surroundings.

How much of my life gets consumed by little leveling rituals? I know too well just how crooked I am to the world. I think of myself as tolerably orthogonal, though I’m canted at a shy angle. I prefer to think of myself as straight and rather narrow, though I realize I’m neither. Never was.

I’m not the only crooked person in my neighborhood and in my town. Like this old house, this old town and its aging inhabitants engage at obtuse angles. Thank heavens. I realize that my best work never qualified as square. Where’s the interest there? My best stuff emerges from a tussle between ideal form and irregular experience, with ideal form inevitably losing.

After I’d leveled the hutch, I realized that I could have downloaded an iPhone level app rather than fume off to the hardware store to replace the little level I’d lost. The app level measures in fine degrees, and shows that thing nearly a full degree out of level; about 1%. The Muse suggested that another tap or two on the shims would make it perfect. Bah! Perfection has no place here.

I’m leveling without expecting to ever become level. I even expect some settling afterward, and I’ll readjust without frustrating myself. My job might extend no further than fooling my eye, and my eye seems more easily satisfied than even the smallest perfection could ever be.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus