Before I left for college, my dad bought me a toolbox. Every tool contained within it was bright pink, including a hammer, a screwdriver, and a tape measure. I laughed, doubting that I would ever use it, but I appreciated the gesture. And, as my dad wisely pointed out, one never knew when one might need a toolbox.
About a week later, I was alone in my dorm room, FaceTiming my little sister, when a girl paused in my open doorway and asked:
“Hey, do you have a tape measure?”
We were both delighted and surprised at the fact that I did. I handed it over to her, happy to have helped, and settled back on my bed as she disappeared down the hall.
My sister, still on FaceTime, asked the questions I had forgotten to pose: who was that girl, and why did she need my tape measure?
After a time with those questions brewing in my mind, my curiosity came to a peak and I decided to go track her- and my tape measure- down. The problem was, of course, that I didn’t know her name or where she lived.
I began knocking on doors at random, introducing myself and explaining my plight. The girls I met- although not the ones I was looking for- were eager to help. After interrogating hall-mates and RA’s alike, my small posse and I finally found the tape measure in the room at the end of the hall. The girl there was using it to figure out if she could fit her dresser in her closet. The answer was yes, but she would have to remove the closet doors.
For that, we used my pink screwdriver.
In the midst of this adventure, precariously balanced on a desk and a tiny step-stool, struggling to unscrew the doors from their moorings and trading jokes, names, and cupcakes, I realized something. Despite my summer-long worries and my late-night anxieties, I had actually made some friends.
Huh. I guess that wasn’t so hard.