Yesterday I had an experience that was moving. It felt special, yet to the casual observer it would have been anything but special.
It involved a Rubik puzzle that I hadn’t solved yet, and I just felt like finishing it. After all, I know how to solve a 2x2x2, so this one shouldn’t have posed a problem.
Handle with care
Inherent to the puzzle’s design was that it turned strangely. In some cases the turns were smooth, in other it felt like the contraption worked against you. Regardless of it’s intricacies, I treated and used it like a regular 2x2x2; for me it was as simple as them both being solved in more or less the same way.
So with the first of three “cubes” solved I started twisting and turning the
second one. As mentioned, it was normal that it occasionally stuck and made
a fuss about simple turns, but I kept on going, a couple of time forcing a turn
through instead of wiggling in the opposite direction.
After some work however, I had the second cube finished and only the last one remained. Halfway through the third one however it happened.
Something inside the middle cube went loose, and the entire construction along with it. This was with me being one and a half algorithm away from finishing the puzzle for the first time. I clasped the puzzle, realizing that if I let go of any one loose piece, the entire thing would fall apart. Greedily, all I thought about was solving it, despite its fragile state. Holding all the pieces on the first and the middle cube together took a hand and some pressure, making the cube very hard to maneuver, but this didn’t sway me; there was no giving up. Slowly I approached the last few moves, and I suddenly hit me that this thing was dying.
It was on respirator and intravenous, and I was still pushing it.
To make things worse, I got to be about four turns away from finishing the entire puzzle when the thing stuck, there was no moving it. It was as if it had given up; the last turn was made. Seeing that there was no way to complete the puzzle, despite being so close, I gave up. Putting it down on the table it went to pieces, its entire structure crumbling part by part.
It was a strange moment because it felt like I had witnessed and been part of a toy’s death bed experience.
After looking at the pile of coloured plastic I stepped back and reminded myself that it was just a toy. I left it at that.