Fact: One of my little-known and, thus, unsung talents is a complete and total ability to act like I have a clue when I don't. I like to use Henry Ford's inspirational expression "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right" as more or less a hallucinatory mission statement and pretty much believe I can do anything if I want to badly enough, up to and including becoming a NASA pilot and queen of a small country. Simultaneously.
Today, this resulted in me giving people directions. Twice. I've written about this before-- if these lost souls actually listened to me, the one that I was trying to help avoid LA traffic en route to Northern California via a shortcut that I use myself is probably halfway to Ohio by now, and the one whom I attempted to direct to Wal*Mart (which is about three feet from my house) has probably driven himself into a lake.
I feel mildly bad about this, but I did try to give them fair warning by gently suggesting that they seek a second opinion. From, for example, the eight million truckers who crawl all over my establishment like so many ants. They might be a teensy bit more knowledgeable than me.
Anyway, I mention this purely to illustrate my unsung talent. I have no business giving anyone directions, or trying to draw little maps on paper-- in fact, I shouldn't really be allowed anywhere near a car without my TomTom, which you wouldn't know anything about if you happen to be one of those lucky souls that has some sort of sense of direction. If you're more like me, that little computer is basically a part of your brain (the one they handed out while you were out to lunch). God help me if I'm ever traveling to an unknown place, especially across state lines, and it dies an untimely death.
Yet these people listened to me as if I was privy to the location of the Holy Grail (which, incidentally, I am... the Grail-keepers knew that telling me would pose absolutely no threat). I was that confident as I cheerfully laid out my wrong-headed directions.
So after work, since I was already in my faking-proficiencies-I-do-not-actually-possess mode, I decided to pretend to be the fixer-upper that I am deeply, deeply not.
It's not that I've never built anything before. Some moron put me in charge of building sets for the school plays back in high school. Two story sets. That people had to walk on. Without falling through the floor. And nobody ever did!
However, even though I got the credit for this and that's exactly as it should be, I did very little of the actual building. I designed the sets and that's where my direct involvement ended. After that, I supervised, I kibitzed, I hammered the occasional non-union nail. But I relied on others for the actual no-falldowngoboom results.
So while I'm no stranger to the occasional hanging of a framed picture, my toolset is pink, and you must draw your own conclusions about that.
But I needed a doorknob, one that had the ability to lock and therefore keep my scary nutso roommates from going through my stuff when I'm not around. This may not be entirely fair as neither of them has ever shown an inclination to do any such thing, but at this point, I am sufficiently experienced in utterly batshit crazy roommates to know that it is better to be safe than sorry.
So I went to Home Depot, found a doorknob with confidence-inducing ease, and asked the knowledgeable question of a seasoned do-it-yourselfer at checkout.
"Will I need anything besides a screwdriver to put this in?"
Encouraged that he said no without even needing to consult the packaging, I headed for home. The bright shiny new doorknob doesn't even vaguely complement the poopy-colored door and it looks ridiculous, but I didn't get to where I am in life by fretting about such things. I set to dismantling the previous lock, and in no time at all I succeeded in getting doorknob lubricant all over my bed.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, replacing a doorknob essentially involves unscrewing two longish screws with a Phillips, pulling the doorknob apart gently, setting the old pieces somewhere besides your bed, which I mention purely for giggles since I'm sure nobody would actually be that stupid, putting the new pieces in, and replacing the two longish screws with a Phillips.
It is, for a normal person, a ten-minute job. It took me almost an hour, and I will tell you why: Those screws didn't like me. They could probably tell I was not their equal; I've been on the bad end of many a mean screw in my day, but that was no excuse for their blatant refusal to bend to my will. They refused to sit still in their little screw-holder thingies, and the back half of the doorknob kept falling out and onto the floor with a defiant CLANG, and it would have looked ridiculous except that I took care to do this when no one else was around in anticipation of just such a complication.
However, let's focus on the positive side here: I replaced my own doorknob. And while it might be premature to say, I think-- dream with me here, folks-- that this might just rank higher on my home-improvement resume than hanging a curtain over the window using only pushpins! So on the whole, I think this one landed solidly in the success column.