By Dorothy Knight Burchett
Yesterday was a big day for us at our house. The temperature was 90 degrees the day before, so Sweetheart and I decided it was high time to put our air conditioner in the bedroom window . . . our new air conditioner . . . the one we had purchased from our local department store last summer at it’s going-out-of-business sale. We had kept it secure in its box, undisturbed, since we bought it, because our old, dilapidated one was still in use.
While I was planting the garden, Sweetheart got the new air conditioner out of the box and carried it from the barn to the porch. Some assembly was required.
My mind flashed back to an incident 10 years ago, when a friend gave me a two-drawer pressed wood file cabinet that required complete assembly. She said she didn’t have the patience to put it together. I believed I was the woman for the job.
I got the instruction sheet out; identified and laid out all of the pieces on the floor; and, following the instructions one by one, I assembled it in less than an hour. I was so proud of myself. I looked forward to a similar experience with the air conditioner. It didn’t happen.
It’s not that we didn’t follow the directions—there were none. At least, we couldn’t find any. As we unpacked and untaped each piece, we looked for them to be in a plastic envelope under the air conditioner, taped to it, or, perhaps, written on the box, itself. We couldn’t find them anywhere.
I asked Sweetheart how many times he had used directions to assemble an item and he said, “Never. Where are they when you need them?”
I thought we would be okay, but some of the pieces had us baffled. I suggested that we take the unit to an appliance store for help, but Sweetheart said that would be a slap in the face to the owner of the appliance store. I suggested we take it to a plumbing and heating store, but he said it would cost more for them to put it together than it cost for the air conditioner. It looked as though we were stuck with each other.
We put the accordion strips where they were obviously designed to go and screwed in a piece where the holes lined up. We had a few screws and clamps left over, but the unit appeared to be operational. We put it in the window, turned it on and enjoyed cool comfort.
I left to run an errand for half an hour. As I came in the door, Sweetheart said he had bad news. He had found the instructions—right where he had automatically put them when he opened the box. Apparently, he was so focused on the air conditioner that he lost track of where he had laid the plastic envelope.
I think we all do things absentmindedly from time to time. We think there are some things that don’t require a lot of thought. Maybe, they do.
I wonder if we got the air conditioner in right. It seems to be working all right. I wonder if we’ll ever open the envelope to find out.