A trip through the Land of Misfit Projects

Nathan Baker • Dec 8, 2019 at 12:00 AM

As the year ends, it’s time to pay respects to the forgotten projects.

If you’re cursed with the same sporadic hobby ethic I have, you already know what I’m talking about.

My makeshift workshop, car and desk at work are scattered with projects I’ve started, but haven’t finished.

It’s not that I’m reluctant to do them. I enthusiastically started each and every one, hot and heavy, like a summer romance. But after a while, the honeymoon ended, and now I’m just sort of stuck with them. It’s not a reluctance, but more of an apathy.

Here’s to you, desk fan I bought at a yard sale two summers ago, disassembled, stripped of paint and then... left. I had every intention of getting you spinning again, but at some point between scouring off your surface rust and finding a replacement for the missing nut that holds your blades on, I lost momentum.

I haven’t forgotten about you, pile of boards that should have been floating shelves by now. In fact, I’m panged with guilt every time I look up in the closet and see the bare spot where you should be.

Knitting — oh, knitting — I can’t count the number of times I’ve started a scarf, got about a foot in and just put the needles down. They’re still on the needles! I’ve bought needles of the same gauge to start a new project, so I can leave a stalled project undisturbed (but unfinished).

For some reason, I can’t let go of them, these misfit projects. I still intend to finish them, but that doesn’t mean I will.

I’m like the anti-Marie Kondo. Instead of decluttering by identifying and appreciating the items that bring me joy, I collect junk I have no attachment to.

I’m not a hoarder — said every person waist-deep in garbage on an episode of “Hoarders” — I’m just making really, really slow progress. You’ll see. This fan is going to be great.

And it’s not like I’m not getting anything done. Other projects have been started and finished in the nearly two years the fan has been sitting.

But I’ve also taken on more misfits.

Heck, I pulled another desk fan out of the trash here at the Press just this week. The motor won’t spin. I think it needs a new start capacitor. But something tells me it’s going to be another misfit for a while.

So, this December, please take some time with me to recognize all the forgotten projects. They’re appreciated even though they aren’t quite finished yet.

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