Sunday, October 4, 2009

Alice, Lewis Carroll, Wonderland, IKEA

This weekend I'm wondering about my "spatial awareness." I've always been fairly confident that I have beaucoups and to spare of this quality. Mostly because I always rock at anything involving hand-eye coordination - especially if there's a ball in the mix.

I have a good grasp of three-dimensional space. Heck, I can even parallel park, under pressure, on a busy street.

I remember those IQ tests they used to give us when we were kids. You know, where they'd show the picture of the odd-shaped colored blocks and I'd have to replicate the set-up while some psychologist held a stop-watch, muttered to himself, and wrote secretive little notes. I was always fast, and they'd want me to do it again because it wasn't what they were expecting from the grades on my report card.

But then IKEA invented a new test and kicked my confidence to the curb. All I can say is if I'd gone to elementary-school in Scandinavia I'd still be trying to test my way out of third grade!

Yesterday, Rebekah and I went to IKEA's big blue box to purchase a new office chair for my study. I found the chair I like, located my version of said swivel seat on aisle 45 and in bin 26, carried the box home, poured the contents out onto the living room floor, and proceeded to royally fail two hours of Spatial Awareness 101.

And I thought I was good at this. But it was like, spatial awareness out the window:
  • "Sayonara, suckah"
  • "That's all she wrote!"
  • "In our world, 2 + 2 sometimes = 3.7."
  • "Welcome to Wonderland, Alice."
And it wasn't as if there were that many parts. It's just that the pictures - and that's all there were - all looked like optical illusions. I could look at the diagram, I could imagine my pieces setting together like that... But then there was what actually happened, when I attempted to unite the parts in some kind of a meaningful relationship. A three-dimensional chair? Something that looks like the picture in the catalog? I don't think so!

Eventually, more by a process of elimination than anything else, my chair "found itself" in some kind of existential moment of self-affirmation.

I, on the other hand, am still scratching my head.

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