Friday, November 05, 2004

DIY Dodger

The shelves of failed DIY are sat at the side of me in their packaging waiting to be put up. They are here to replace the previous incumbents of the space above my desk that gave up the ghost a couple of months ago.

The illness of the original shelves was a pretty terminal thing, every morning I would come downstairs and the shelves had thrown a few more books at the PC. There must have been a falling out that I wasnt aware of, but the shelves were obviously more sensitive about it and had taken it to heart a little more. It got to the point where I feared coming downstairs in case I found a kitchen knife piercing my screen, the car gone and the shelves nowhere to be seen. I had to split them up for their own good.

As a consequence there is now nothing above my PC except a space where something should be. Although it has been so long since something was there that it's not obvious that something is missing anymore - the space where something should be has now become a feature in its own right.

By covering the space with more shelves I would therefore be putting something where nothing used to be. And then i'd have to deal with that oddity until it became the norm. I like to think im saving myself the trauma, but im not. Im just saving myself the work.

I'd like to be the kind of person that would just observe the shelves coming to the end of their natural lives and then go out, buy some more and put them up. But I'm not, I talk myself out of these things and sit there thinking about the downsides of putting shelves up, the worst that could happen and the hassle it might be. And then there's always something else I need to do other than put the shelves up. Like writing about doing it for example. Or writing about not doing it. Or almost any other thing.

Im sure the reason I talk myself out of DIY at most opportunities is that i'm scared of getting to the point where im stuck doing a job but I cant put it back like it was before, and I dont have the knowledge to carry on and finish it properly. I can get by with basic DIY and I know my limits but am a little frightened of things cropping up that would flummox me to a point where I would have to leave it as it is and go on the internet instead.

Houses up and down the country are filled with DIY limbo points like this, they become sources of amusement, stuff of legend and then cited in divorce proceedings. Im not going to become a slave to failed DIY and fall down in peoples estimations. It's broken stronger people than me in the past, fuelled ridicule and caused them to move from the area and find a new life. I'd rather not bother in the first place. I'll just stand these books up in the corner of the room if it's all the same.

Putting shelves up is theoretically an easy job, even for a DIY dodger like me. But these shelves are in a little plaster board alcove, right by the main fuse box to the house. Theres a lot of fiddling to be done. And you can imagine the dilemma thats going off in my mind: the main pro-DIY gene is telling me that it'll be no problem, but the anti-DIY gene is sounding the electrical wires warning siren. And its loud. With electrics the first thing i would know of a problem with my DIY project would be when im lying on my back in the garden, clutching the drill tightly and twitching like a dying cat. No thank you.

At least I've been out and got the shelves though, i bought them last week. Its a start. Theyre actually leaning on the wall here next to me as i type this. I need to do it soon as the new shelves and the space where the old shelves were have now become good friends and are now ganging up on me. They remind me of my uselessness every time im in the house, looking at me and laughing at my weakness, whispering about me when im not listening and talking about me behind my back. Theres no respect there anymore. I need to split them up - this is becoming a DIY limbo.

Maybe this weekend it will happen. Or maybe not.