Tolerances

For the most part, my life doesn’t make me pay attention to ⅛ inches. But furniture assembly requires such minute margins.

We had a guest bed delivered. It came off a truck, straight into the guest room and sat on the floor for a few weeks until we got a mattress to fit. Black, minimal, we figured since it wasn’t IKEA, it would be a breeze to put together.

When we finally get to it, we work on it for hours. We can’t get the foot to sit flush against the support beams, but we can't figure out why. We argue because Tyler’s imagining having to cut and weld, and is frustrated because he'll have to do so, and I am thinking he's crazy and why can't he just shove it together and call it a day already?

Tyler spends the next hour trying to figure out what part of the bed is causing the problem and eventually, he centers in on a bracket welded to the larger piece about an eighth of an inch higher than it's counterpart on the other side of the bed.

Trying to avoid the future (imminent) sawing and welding accident, I ask him to call CB2 in the morning and tell them what's wrong with the faulty part.

I'm learning a lot about tolerances.

The bed won't go together with an 1/8-inch difference. Maybe it would be fine if it was only off by 1/16 of an inch or a 1/32 of an inch. Tyler tells me about projects at work that require tolerances of only 1/100th of an inch.

I'm learning about them in terms of exactness and room for error, yes. But also in terms of marriage. Marriage must fall within a certain margin to work.

Tyler’s mind is exact. It is flush. It is accurate to a fraction, while I round up. And as long as I’m close, I’m happy.

He’s analytical. I’m practical.

He weighs options. I’ve already decided.

All the things I let go of so easily sometimes do matter. If we can’t fit the bed together, they matter! But, some of the things he can't let go of, just don't matter; they simply take up space and cause stress.  

It's just a hairline, a give-and-take on both sides. Somewhere between what he wants and what I want, what he needs and what I need, who he is and who I am. It's all a constant effort to stay within the tolerance -- between fitting together perfectly and still being separate, imperfect pieces.