I’m always trying to tackle projects that take ungodly amounts of patience because I don’t have as much patience as I do some sort of yearning for personal growth. On a subconscious level one of these projects must be collecting so much stuff over the years that decluttering could easily take the rest of my twenties, because slowly tidying my life in this studio is a constant these days (more on that later). But the project I’m talking about today is sanding my kitchen island.
I have a teeny tiny kitchen with little room to move around in and to add insult to injury, almost zero counter space. Maybe I eat too much or maybe I’m an undiagnosed spice hoarder but as hard as I try I can’t seem to get rid of kitchen things, even when my blender starts emitting a burning smell and I realize I own upwards of 20 mugs and most of them are identical. For months I went about searching for this kitchen island I had in my head–butcher block, huge surface area to work on with tons of storage underneath, with a little breakfast bar that drops down if need be where I’d spend most mornings drinking coffee at an inspiring 5AM staring out the window into the dreamy view of my complex’s laundry room. I finally found one I could afford on Craigslist and after lugging it up my stairs with a man I’d just met, dragged it into my kitchen and put my forearms exhaustedly on the surface only to realize–
There was a layer of dirt from neglect that’d been collecting and this wasn’t, to my dismay, something to be rectified with a soapy sponge. I can’t claim to know much about sanding things, but I can claim to know nothing about sanding things because that is the truth. I asked a couple of friends about little things, you know, what size grit would work, if they had a sander I could borrow. And without the patience to really be sure I knew what I was doing, I just went at it like a drunk person to a plate of nachos.
The thing is, you can’t just whiz over the entire surface and believe that it’s powerful enough. It required, of course, patience. So I would listen to a Cold War Kids song and promise myself I’d go over one area until I got to the chorus, the bridge, whatever. And I did this over and over again and scraped and wiped and revisited until finally the table looked partway decent, and then I covered the table with oil. It wasn’t a spectacular job, and I’d do it again with an even rougher grit of paper, but it did work and I was forced not to learn patience, but to dig up the sufficient bit of patience I’ve had all along.