Sometimes I am stubborn. If you’ve known me for longer than 2 blog posts, you realize this. Even though you realize this, you might assume that in the face of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, I will give up on whatever dumb thing I was trying to do and just take the easy route. You might think that when presented with a silly task that causes immense struggle and proves absolutely nothing to anyone–including myself–by conquering it, I will give in and take the sensible path.
You clearly haven’t known me for longer than 486 blog posts. If you did, you would guess that when picking up an air conditioner at the Home Depot a half hour (in walking time) from my apartment and discovering it doesn’t really balance on the cart I’d brought to lug it home and the cart can’t really support the weight anyway, I’d ignore these obvious details and continue on my way. You’d predict that despite the fact that the air conditioner/cart contraption had already tipped over on the sidewalk just 9 steps from the store’s doors, and the light sprinkle that had been coming down had turned into a more persistent rain, I’d keep dragging that appliance toward home.
You wouldn’t understand it, but you’d know it.
And I don’t blame you for not understanding, because I don’t either. All I know is that when I realized my idea to get this thing home without needing help from anyone else was poised for failure, I refused to change course. It was dangerous, certainly, to attempt to transport a box weighing a third of my body weight 1.8 miles along bumpy sidewalks (which I still maintain were the main obstacle to this mission since they were what caused the cart to tip over 6 times along the way). It was stupid, probably. A smarter person would have recognized that admitting defeat in this situation was nothing to be ashamed of. A less stubborn person would have admitted that calling a cab was the best possible use of paid transportation.
But then I wouldn’t have been able to, an hour later and dripping with sweat that I told myself could be mistaken for rain even though it had stopped raining halfway through the trip, arrive triumphantly at my front door knowing I’d completed the task all by myself. I wouldn’t have been able to claim success at what was possibly the most pointless physical challenge I’d ever given myself. I wouldn’t have been able to look at the picture of 2 people lifting the box on the outside of the air conditioner with the words, “Team Lift” over them and declare that merely a suggestion.
That last one is probably the real reason I forced myself to endure the endeavor. Because that’s the worst thing about being single: you’re not part of a team.
You can either pay people to help you with things, or guilt your friends into it (or pay them). You can’t say to someone, “Hey, you know what would be sort of an adventure because even everyday things are slightly more fun with you by my side? Let’s go pick up my air conditioner!” You don’t laugh with someone when the enormous thing you’re pulling keeps falling over. You can’t relax with someone after you’ve completed the errand. You don’t get to have the sort of celebration teams have when they’ve worked at something together and come out the other side of it just fine–or only slightly bruised. You aren’t able to give in when someone finally convinces you to just take a cab instead.
So I dragged the air conditioner alone to prove I don’t need to be part of a team. Which isn’t true, of course, because yes I do. Or, well, I really want to be. Winning isn’t quite as satisfactory when there’s no one to witness it.
Later that night, I challenged myself to yet another silly task: opening a brand new bag of Mint Milano cookies with only one hand. It was a bit harder than carrying the air conditioner almost 2 miles, but I finally managed to do it, and it turned out to be much more rewarding because 1.) cookies, and 2.) I can’t install the air conditioner by myself so it’s just sitting in the middle of my apartment.