When I was in primary school, there was a shopping complex in our suburban neighbourhood that my mother used to visit regularly for the weekly grocery shopping. I often accompanied her whenever I was at home and wasn’t doing anything else. But since grocery shopping didn’t interest me much back then, I always brought a book with me. And as soon as my mother started shopping, I would sneak out on my own to sit somewhere quiet and read my book.
Very conveniently, there were a few round tables and chairs right in front of the checkout. They might have been somebody’s kind donation, since they looked much older than the shopping complex itself.
Both the tables and the chairs had fancy designs, like the ones in a café. I liked the dark coloured wooden table surface, but there was one structural problem with these tables. Their four black steel legs were curved inward and moreover, they were bundled by another piece of steel right where my legs wanted to settle. No matter how hard I tried to squeeze my legs under the table, this piece of steel prevented it. And it wasn’t low enough to rest my feet upon either.
So, as I sat and read, I always had to keep my legs sideways – a very strange and uncomfortable position.
The situation disturbed me greatly, and each time I came and sat at the table, I couldn’t help asking myself the same question over and over.
“Why on earth this piece of steel is here!? It would have been perfect without it!”
And each time, without fail, I tried pushing my legs under the table, only to be denied by the stubborn presence of the piece of steel bundling the four legs of the table.