The arrival of spring seemed a good time for some repairs around the house. Although I am not great at DIY – hardly a handyman – I thought that I’d be able to fix a few bits and bobs if properly equipped. So, I went to a DIY store to get the right tools.
Traversing the long, narrow shopping alleys like a solitary Venetian gondolier, I came to realize that I wouldn’t be able to choose between the hundreds of thousands of hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers and other tools, the names of which I didn’t even know, and whose absolute indispensability I didn’t dare doubt. I needed an off-the-rack solution: a toolbox. After a quarter of an hour of drifting, I actually found a corner where such toolboxes were waiting to be found. I looked at them and studied their prices, contents, and the overall impression they made.
I was unable to make a decision. Each toolbox had some kind of a flaw: one didn’t seem to open properly, another one rattled, and yet another smelled of something that reminded me of a certain unsuccessful outing. Incapable of choosing, I began sobbing quietly. After a few minutes, I calmed down and asked a staff member for help. After the customary I shouldn’t be helping you, this is not my department, she decided to make an exception. There was another toolbox in stock, she said, but they don’t usually offer it to customers.
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.
“Nothing. It’s perfect.”
She brought it over on a trolley, even though the toolbox wasn’t heavy. It also wasn’t light. In fact, it was the perfect weight; just perfect overall. The lid opened smoothly, but with some satisfying resistance. Inside, the tools were arranged in a thoughtful, effortlessly asymmetrical way – a true piece of art.
I wiped away the tears and looked at the staff member with a grateful smile. At this point, I realized that it was not one person, but two who were helping me – a man and a woman (which, by the way, is completely irrelevant).
I said my thank yous, paid at the till, and went back home.
I put my purchase in the living room because it deserved the best spot. It seemed to be glowing. Or was it emitting some kind of sound? An intangible vibration filled me with peace. No household repair could go wrong with such a toolbox.
The first on my to-do-list was a loose screw on a kitchen cupboard door handle. I opened the toolbox. The glow (or perhaps the sound?) became even sweeter and more harmonious. I selected the right screwdriver and pulled it out of the perfectly fitted slot.
But once I held it in my hand, all my enthusiasm evaporated. I felt as if I was in a film and suddenly the music just stopped – everything seemed to be in place, and yet something was missing.
I immediately realized what had happened: once I took the screwdriver out, the toolbox lost its sweet-sounding glow. I put the tool right back in and – thankfully – the wonderful vibration returned, gently filling my body and the entire room.
For many months I managed with a loose screw – and somehow I’m still alive. After all, what’s the problem with that?
Translated from the Polish by Joanna Figiel
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