Sunday, September 9, 2012

Eclectic Electric

Sometimes the smallest act of kindness can beg immeasurable appreciation. I have had two lamp fixtures gathering dust in my bedroom for three months, waiting to replace the ugly ones in my bathroom. A friend had said he could put them in for me, but he got busy at work. Since the other lights worked I was willing to wait until he had more time. That time came at about 9am on a Sunday morning.

Still in my pajamas, with the Sunday paper and a cup of coffee in front of me when he called, I didn’t dare lose the opportunity so I said come on down. Ten minutes later, he was at my door, raring to go. I was still in my pajamas. If he didn’t care about my “who-did-it-and-ran” hairdo, then neither did I. Guys are great that way.

About 15 minutes later, the new lights were in and I was ecstatic. I just wanted to stand there and flip the light switch on and off the whole day. He was like, “big deal.” Little did either of us know, the big deal was yet to come.

Lucky for me, he chose this particular day to come over. The day before, I had bought a hanging swag light that required an additional “kit” containing the necessary attachments to make it work. The salesman was very casual about my questions concerning the need for this kit.

“Can I put this together myself?” I asked. “Sure, sure,” he said. “I bought the same lamp for my parents,” as if this response answered my question. He handed me a package that I took on faith was the kit I needed, with all the necessary parts inside. I bought the lamp and its kit, and headed home to assemble it.

Put it together myself? Yeah maybe, if I had an electrical engineering degree. All I was able to do was thread the cord through the chain. Then there were all these wires and orange screw caps, and screws with no thingies on the end for a screwdriver. There was also some hardware I couldn’t even identify. The instructions basically said, “Install the light,” and then repeated it in French. I sat down and tried to remember what I had done with the receipt.

Enter my friend, who came over to do me a favor and quickly install the bathroom lights. “While you’re here,” I said, and explained my plight concerning this “easy to install” light. He said sure, he could do that. Forty-five minutes later, while completely ignoring my recitation of the instructions and not even using half the parts in the stupid kit, he finally conquered the not-to-be-conquered-light.

I was so thrilled I hugged him, with him pulling away to get out of the house before I came up with any more “little” projects for him. As he left the house he reinstated my self-worth, assuring me that I would never have been able to assemble that by myself. Then the idea of flipping the light switch on and off all day came back to mind as an activity that would result in endless pleasure, and I ran upstairs to do so. Now I need a new light bulb.

Thank you, God, for not-so-small favors, like a friend who knows how sort out a bunch of wires and screws and turn them into something that looks like the box they came in.

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