Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Paint Snob's Lament

Well, I spent the day up in the bucket of the lift again, painting trim on our church. Eight hours of trim painting. Eight. I think the building has been growing. I'm sure there are more windows now than when we started this project. However, it might just be that I'm seeing double from fatigue. It's still nice to be making progress, though. The project is getting to that stage where you can really see what it'll look like when it's all done. It's going to be beautiful, and I don't just think so because I was on the committee that chose the colors--although that does help.

Color is very important to me. In fact, I'd say I'm a bit of a color snob. My friends and family would probably phrase it a little less delicately. My husband calls me the paint police of Portland, which isn't really fair. I'd call myself more of a color consultant--who wishes she had more actual power. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with most people's choices, but some people have no business being allowed to make their own paint decisions. I think there is a genetic flaw, or maybe it's a disease, that causes some homeowners to neglect consideration for their neighbors when "decorating" the outside of their houses. This condition is rare, but I find that it does cause some people to violate the Meow paint codes.

Their offenses fall into several legal categories. The first is Class A misdemeanor paint. It's really just a little problem. It's when the body color for the house is good, but the trim was chosen while the culprit was recovering from minor surgery, and is still on heavy pain meds. A Class C felony involves the trim being fine, but the main body color is just plain bad. Perhaps the person's dog has just died, and they aren't really ready to make important decisions yet. Class B felony, of course, should be obvious. Both the trim color and the main color are bad, and one must assume the person who chose them is going through a divorce, or something equally traumatic. The final category is the one for which I can find no excuse, no mitigating circumstance which could justify the lapse in judgment. Class A felony paint involves obvious intent to cause psychological damage. Class A felony paint makes me conjure up words like "flogging" and "retribution."

I had never, until recently, believed that a case of Class A felony paint could be the result of but one color, and the trim color at that. I had always, innocently, thought that it required a particularly egregious combination of offensive hues to incite me to laying that awful charge at the door of any of my fellow human beings, but I was wrong. I was dreadfully wrong. About a week ago, after a long day of painting at the church, I came home to see that my neighbor across the street and two doors down had also been painting. I remember, in the stupor of my exhaustion, thinking as I saw him painting in the dim evening light, "Wow, I hope that's just primer," and then letting my tired mind slip away from the reality of the situation.

When I woke in the morning, it was with nary a thought of the horror that waited just outside my door. As the morning wore on, it finally dawned on me to again peruse the neighbor's handiwork. I may never look out the front window again. Even my husband, whom I have trained well, but who has not yet reached my level of paint snobbery, actually jumped (I am not making this up) when he saw the color that the man across the street had chosen to inflict upon his neighbors. All the trim on his nice, neutral, beige-ish house--columns, doors, fascia, eaves--is now bright, neon, Halloween ORANGE.

My doctor has prescribed sedatives to get me through this trial. We figure I will only be on them for seven or eight years. The neighbor's just got to choose another color by then, doesn't he? Or move. Maybe he'll move so someone with better taste can move into the house and rescue it. (The following is to be read in a whimper.) Please.

Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I will send you on to the thing which I was planning to write about when I started this post. I probably shouldn't have foisted all this pain onto you, but the analyst that I am now seeing to cope with the turmoil of emotions caused by this felony paint situation says that it is good for me to let things out. Anyway, I was asked recently how I feel about political satire. I like satire. Satire helps us deals with the ridiculous, frustrating, and uncontrollable things in life, like felony paint and politicians. Perhaps this is why I responded so well to the piece that I now recommend for your satirical amusement, at TCS Daily, by Bill Smith. I will warn you ahead of time--it pokes fun at the common Democratic stance on the war on Terrorism, by exploring what key Democratic politicians would be saying if Democrats of today treated national security the same way that Democrats of old did. I must confess, that when I first read it, I didn't catch that it was satire, and it rocked my world a bit, but the meds I'm on for that other problem really helped, and once I figured out that it was, indeed, satire, I simply relaxed into it and enjoyed it for what it was. I hope you do the same. (Actually, the fact I didn't know it was satirical at first might have been why I enjoyed it so much, so perhaps I shouldn't have told you, but, oh well. The damage is done already, so try to enjoy it the best you can. Please don't take offense if your politics are the ones currently being satirized. I've taken swipes at the other side too. If it really upsets you, I recommend sedatives. They really help when taken in moderation. Only three or four at a time, and I can almost forget what's just outside my window. Almost.)