Technically, I think I may be on the fifth or sixth or EIGHTY GAZILLIONTH verse, when it comes to the never-ending process of painting the dining room, but I do rather feel like a hamster on a wheel, at this point.
Get up. Check email. Do some work. Paint. Do some more work. Do other stuff around the house. Paint. And so on.
I feel like a tremendous wimp. I mean, yes, applying plaster is extremely time-consuming, but it’s not particularly DIFFICULT, and painting with regular paint is simple enough, and also, it’s not a very big room, and why in the world does this seem to be the project that never ends? Am I suffering from some form of home improvement retardation? I think I might be.
(“For just pennies a day, you can help a struggling homeowner. Despite their limitations, they’re working so hard to live in a normal house. Won’t you help?”)
I find that an empty house and endless painting lends itself to a kind of introspection that I normally don’t have time for. Because I can think about the paint—
Hey, that’s… wet.
—or I can think about other stuff.
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who’s a vegan. I find veganism fascinating, mostly because I cannot comprehend of a world without cheese. As important as I find bacon to my personal sense of happiness, I could give it up, I think. I consider vegetarianism on a pretty regular basis, for all sorts of reasons, and while I’ve never (yet) done it, I can at least PICTURE it. But life without cheese? What would be the POINT?
So last night while I was applying a second coat of primer (did I mention that this room has a chair rail? So the endless extravaganza of the Venetian plaster was only the UPPER part of the wall, and now I’m working on painting the lower part), for whatever reason I was trying to think of all the foods I could still eat if I was a vegan, and whether or not I felt they constituted a broad enough range of fare. Each time I would hit on something that made me incredibly happy—say, license to eat avocados at every meal!—I would then stumble on another food which I consider absolutely indispensable. Like pizza. Or any of the billion other foods I love which involve glorious dairy.
Yes, maybe I AM a baby cow. YOU DON’T KNOW. I could be.
And to be clear, it’s not that my friend is pushing veganism on me, it’s just that this is how my brain works. One side of my brain reads an article about the inhumane treatment of supposedly “organic” and well-treated animals, and before the tears are even dry, the other side of my brain has no problem whatsoever piping up with “Know what would be good right about now? A BIG CHEESEBURGER! WITH EXTRA ANIMAL CRUELTY!”
So after ruminating on that for a while, I sort of got mired in that whole “time is passing so quickly” kind of thing, which is basically the fast track towards concluding that I have been asleep for half of my life. I mean, honestly, there can be no other explanation.
My brother is about to turn 40, which is IMPOSSIBLE, because he’s only three years older than me and I’m only… oh. Nevermind.
Otto’s youngest brother (Wild Thing) is about to get married, which is IMPOSSIBLE, because when I met Otto we were in college and Wild Thing was only 7 and Otto referred to him as Sparky, which I genuinely thought was his name for a good many years. Nowadays if you call Wild Thing Sparky I suggest you have your running shoes on, and also apparently 7-year-olds can get married in Massachusetts because… oh. Nevermind.
Yesterday was my unniversary, which is to say the anniversary of my first marriage. Had we stayed married, yesterday would’ve been 14 years (which is, just for comparison, five years LESS than I’ve known Otto). It is mind-blowing to me that I could, at this point, have been married to ANYONE for 14 years. I’m not sure that I knew how to wipe my own butt, 14 years ago. (I’m being metaphorical. Please do not panic, or make disparaging comments about my ass. It’s got enough problems.)
Today I should be able to finish the navy blue paint, and I am going to try my darndest to spend my painting time thinking deep, introspective thoughts like, “Hey, that’s… wet.”
This is why I probably shouldn’t be allowed to spend days on end painting.