Finding Joy: Lego
I have a new addiction. Addiction, thy name is Lego.
First of all, American friends, I have learned that the plural of Lego is also… Lego! Just think of deer (singular) and deer (plural). Evidently I’ve been saying it wrong pretty much forever until an encounter with a group of Aussies five years ago, at which point I was set straight.
Sergio has noticed that I love hobbies that are, as he calls it, “self-soothing.” These are solitary activities where I disappear into our office for an hour or so, like coloring or crafting, and emerge more peaceful. Piano can be that activity but can also result in frustration and key-pounding if it is an off day.
I’m not sure why Lego is so great. I love all of the organized bags of pieces and using a pair of scissors to cut through the plastic. I love the sound of the pieces as they fall into a pile and the act of sorting them into color-coded piles. In the case of Star Wars Lego, it’s an array of greys and blacks with a bit of brown or blue thrown in.
I decided some time ago that I wanted to get the new Millennium Falcon set when it came out because that seemed like the coolest thing EVER. And how creative it was! There were a lot of little details that made me smile (the chess board is one of my favorites). And there were the normal Lego frustrations (as you can see, the cockpit cover falls off randomly). But it actually shoots (plastic) LASERS!!!!!1
Of course as soon as I finished I started looking at some other options. Don’t get me wrong — I have a small box with a set of different blocks so I can freestyle if I like. But just like Emmett from the Lego Movie, I like to follow the instructions.
My desire was clear — I wanted the budget-busting Death Star. It is so expensive because they stopped making it for God-knows-why so it’s harder to get sets. Even more baffling to me is how many people want pristine sets in the box with no dents or cracks in the box because they want to keep it unopened in the box. It’s “worth more” that way.
Me? I couldn’t wait to rip into the box and build!
But I was off to a slow start. Half the problem with this model was distinguishing light gray dark gray from black. But with 30 or 60 minutes a day, progress was soon evident.
What makes me love Lego so much is how creative it is. I’m always amazed to see the little pieces come together as they do. When it’s something as iconic as Star Wars you want to see how they use blocks to make the scenes that you can recite, word for word, come alive.
And the minifigs? Oh my goodness.
So three or four nights a week I would queue up a Joy of Painting episode with Mr. Bob Ross and lose myself in Lego. At a time when life can be crazy and unpredictable, the model was always as I left it. No chaos, no missing minifigs — though Astrix did try to eat Han Solo at one point. There were some challenges — a few pieces were missing, so I had to order those online and that was a two-week delay. And then there were super-crazy instructions like these pages where I had to re-do the damn thing three times to get it right.
But little by little the Death Star grew.
As I opened the last box, I knew that construction was almost done, so I slowed down a little. It was a ton of fun to watch the last pieces come together. “Why don’t you take it apart and build it again?” Sergio asked me. I said I thought it would be really tough, just given the way it’s organized. And besides — there were other models to build.
So now it’s done and I’m glad I did it. And even though I was going to wait to borrow the Ewok Village from someone else, I miiiight have ordered another set for myself. Because we all need a little more fun in our lives, one brick at a time.