04 March 2004

If I had a hammer....

Ellen DeGeneres mocks the song in her Here and Now DVD (which, if you haven't seen it, you must), but it was something I found myself wondering last night.

I decided a while ago that I wanted a shelf above my bed. And last night I purchased one on an excursion to Ikea. A very nice shelf too. For the miniscule price of three English pounds. I wanted to put on this shelf candles, plants and books. I have books and candles, but I found myself buying plants to complete my fantasy shelf. I am taking bets on how long they will last before I kill them. I have never successfully owned plants before (I once tried to own a basil plant. They never need watering and I still managed to kill it through neglect), so this is something of a personal test. A cat will meow at you when it wants food or water. A plant will not. This is where the test lies. Can I take care of something that won't remind me it exists? Or will the big, green, curly thing become posessed by the spirit of all the horror movies I've got on DVD and grow down and strangle me just to draw my attention to it's presence?

I also found myself buying a stool. Of the seating variety, rather than the type a medical professional might ask for a sample of. I bought it so I have something to sit on while cooking and/or washing up. Today I've managed to get away with doing neither, so I'm still very excited about my unused stool.

I enjoy Ikea. Especially the kids section. I always want to bring home the bright purple chest of drawers that looks like it's a fugitive from some fairy tale that was written under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. And, even if you don't find that bit of furniture you were looking for - you can stock up on your pencils.

I came home from Ikea, and searched the whole house. I couldn't find my hammer. I bought it while I was at university and wanted to put a flat-packed bedside table together. I also found it to be useful for periodically banging bits back onto my wheelchair that had fallen off. I also think I inadvertently used it to scare people as I would wander through university clutching it looking pissed off, muttering under my breath, angered about how another bit had fallen off my wheelchair.

The day I bought my hammer, I bought it in Homebase, and then went into Sainsbury's next door to pick up a few things. Between stores I'd put the hammer in my car. Big mistake. In Sainsbury's, the cashier refused to accept my signature as matching the one on my debit card. We waited ages, while the queue steadily grew and people at the back started muttering "I think the woman at the front is trying to use a stolen credit card", for the cashiers supervisor to come and check my signature. She came, she looked, she laughed at the cashier as the signatures quite blatantly matched. Oh, if I'd had a hammer on me.

But last night it was missing. Nowhere.

If I had a hammer - I would have a shelf on my wall, I thought.

If I'd had a hammer last night, I'd probably have a wonky shelf on my wall, as, last night, I was not the owner of a spirit level.

If I had a hammer, I might not of gone to Homebase today, to purchase yet another Homebase Essentials (the Tesco's Value range of the DIY world - a bit like a basic bullet vibrator. Plain, simple, undecorated, and makes DIY easier) hammer and spirit level.

What could I of done with that spare time If I had a hammer? I might of spent it in a cafe, looking sophisticated, reading a book and drinking a coffee. I might of met my dream lady. The conversation might of begun by her asking me if the book was any good as she'd considered reading it, and might of ended up with us making beautiful love, on my bed, beneath the very interesting shelf with books, plants and candles on it. Oh yes, that shelf is going to lure people into my bed. It makes me look trendy and interesting. People will want to be with me. Oh yes. OK, maybe not.

If I'd had a hammer, I'd more likely of been asleep, rather than being in Homebase. But I might of dreamt of a story so brilliant that I'd have to write it down. It might of been such a brilliant story that the writing of it may of been more than a few words on a post-it note on my bedside table - I may of awoken inspired to write a novel in one day. A novel so brilliant that it would make me a world famous author. A novel that would make me so much money that I'd never have to wonder "If I had a hammer" again, because I'd be able to hire people to erect my shelves for me.

If I'd had a hammer, I'd more likely of been sleeping and dreaming of shopping in Sainsbury's with Sharleen Spiteri, discussing whether we should get skimmed or semi-skimmed. Or dreaming that all the bus routes have been changed around Belsize Park, so the Greek Paralympic Swimming Team can't find which bus they want, and George Michael won't let me sing in the music video with the Greek Paralympic Swimming Team because I'm a woman (the feminist in me was so angry when I woke up from that one).

Despite Ellen claiming that when you've got a hammer, you don't hammer as much as you'd think you would - just think about how different your life could be... if only you had a hammer.

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