Yes, I’m Pedantic
I recently moved into a new apartment. It’s a lovely ground-floor studio with an enchanting little garden in the back. All in all, a marked step up from my previous experiences living in various student dorms, and a great way to usher in this post-graduate chapter of my life.
Although I’m still only renting the place, with the move came a certain sense of ownership. Everywhere else I’ve lived thus far, in the back of my mind, I knew it was only temporary. Here, even though I by no means own the place, I don’t feel like a tenant. And with that novel sense of ownership, crept another, more familiar sensation: everything had to be perfect.
Like a doting parent smothering their child with overprotective love, I plunged myself into making sure every single thing was just as I wanted it to be. My powers of perception were heightened, and everywhere my scrutinizing gaze fell, my judgment was pitiless and my retribution swift:
Why doesn’t that drawer open smoothly? The doors are a bit squeaky. The cold water valve in the kitchen doesn’t turn easily. The cabinets bang when they close. Even the garden wasn’t spared my wrath.
And so, like Cinderella on steroids, I was unleashed. Replace the slides, Cinderelly. Oil the hinges, Cinderelly. Pad the cabinets, Cinderelly. Replace the valve, Cinderel — no suitable valve? Replace the faucet, Cinderelly. And on and on I went. Of course, there was no end to the work, because there was no end to my expectations. And then, just as my pile of self-imposed tasks was about to be surpassed by my growing self-loathing, it hit me.
That I am overly concerned with things many people would consider minor, was not news to me; the apartment was simply a new outlet for it. But looking around me, I realized that the doors were less squeaky now, the cabinets not as loud when closed, the faucet no longer bothered me, and the drawers slid smooth as butter.
Did that mean I was finally at peace? Until the glow of a job well done wore off and before the next “imperfection” caught my eye, I would say I was. This made me appreciate that unattainable goals set by individuals seeking order in the chaos are what makes our world go round. Like the pufferfish building and rebuilding his…