Maybe it’s just me, but as I fastidiously sanded my street-found chair Saturday morning it occurred to me that some of my life changing moments have been accompanied by an inordinate amount of sanding. Hmm – I had not thought of the connection before. But it made me wonder, is it just a coincidence, or is there something in the human make up that has us doing something physical to mark the life passages we make?
Yesterday I remembered that the last time I put in this much time with scraped knuckles and unintentionally shortened fingernails, I was sanding the wainscoting and window bench in my old craftsman home after filing for divorce. I spent evenings and weekends sanding like crazy on old varnish, learned how to float joint compound to infill plaster holes, and reworked the window bench, plate rail and wainscoting into things of beauty! My house was the better for my change in marital status – and somehow, sanding into the nights helped me move on.
My street found chair. All in pretty good shape, solid and well-made, and marked “Northwest Furniture Company” on the bottom – a company that was located in Tacoma, WA from the 1900s through 1950. So also a bit of local history saved.
So it got me thinking – what else are you going to do while mindlessly sanding – is there some connection with this physical labor and moving on? For those of you who read this blog, you know I am recently retired, so now moving on to another phase of my life. Is this how we as humans unconsciously mark change? I don’t think this is a new idea – after all, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II seemed to be on this same wave length when they wrote a song about it – when Mary Martin sings “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of my Hair” she’s not sanding, but she’s physically “washing away” a part of her life – and moving on (or so she thinks.) Maybe there is something to this and I’m just on one more logical human road.
Phase two – all sanded and ready for primer – boy, that was a lot of work!
While it’s much more romantic to think that this activity taking place in my basement connects me more closely to my biological forbears, perhaps it is nothing more than a great mash up of right time, right place – free furniture on the street, time on my hands and the freedom to use that time any way I want. And lots of down time in my mind to ponder such things. And it was an interesting enough idea for me to stop and contemplate for a while – and wonder out loud about the connections.
Chair primed and ready for the final phase!
And interesting enough to ask – have you had any similar experiences?
Of course, this could all just be avoidance of all the art projects on my things to do list. Am I nervous because now that I have all the time in the world, I won’t have the talent or abilities to finish up some of the projects I’ve started? Maybe – but for now I’m just going with it, knowing that I still have the fabric to prepare for the chair seat, which now I have to wait for since I couldn’t use anything I already had but needed to order something new, and of course I probably need to get some foam to puff up the chair, and do I have enough staples for the staple fun to finish the seat? If nothing else, I’ve managed to make projects more complex in my few short retired weeks!
I’ll post a photo of the completed project soon!