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Blame the Paint Fumes

By Dave Fox
Seattle, Washington

I would like to apologize to my neighbors.

The loud and occasionally out of tune violin music you heard Sunday night just before midnight was, however, not me. It was Spike, my evil twin.

Spike has been playing the violin since he was nine years old. Some people say he plays it well. Some people say he sounds like crap. Most people don’t believe my evil twin, Spike, even exists — because most people are stupid.

So what happened was, I had been painting all weekend. By “painting,” I mean “drinking beer and swearing.”

It all began when my girlfriend Kattina and my good friend Erin both threatened to kick my ass if I did not stop claiming that someday I was going to do something about my pathetically boring white walls and paint them some interesting color. I have been making this claim ever since I moved into my condo, approximately 238 years ago.

I have sincerely intended to paint my living room ever since then. Unfortunately, my last painting endeavor, when I tackled my kitchen and dining room four years ago, was highly traumatic. Therefore, I have spent the last four years in therapy, in and out of paintophobia recovery groups. Last week, Erin and Kattina decided enough was enough and it was time for some tough love. On Saturday, they dragged me kicking and screaming to the paint store to choose non-white colors.

The plan — ha! the plan! — was to have my entire living room painted by Saturday evening. After three separate paint store excursions, we settled on colors at around 3 a.m. By that time, the paint store was closed, and we could not go back to buy the colors we needed, so we agreed to resume operations on Sunday.

On Sunday, Kattina was unable to assist because she had four loads of laundry to wash. That is one of the great things about painting: When it comes time to paint, you suddenly become highly efficient at completing other tasks — any other tasks at all — in an effort to avoid masking tape and primer.

I phoned Erin on Sunday afternoon around one and asked her if she wanted to help me prime the walls.

“I’ll be right over,” she said.

Three hours later, there was a knock at my door.

It was a wise move, waiting three hours. One would think that in those three hours, I might have had the walls primed. But no.

What happened in those three hours was I spent an entire hour shopping for more paint supplies, and taking down shelving, and yelling at the guy who lived here before me for putting up said shelving in a totally asinine way that is impossible to take down. Granted, I do not even know the guy who used to live here, or his whereabouts, but I really do hope he heard me.

So just about the time Erin arrived, I was halfway through my seventh nervous breakdown of the weekend.

“I must take a break immediately,” I said. Erin agreed this was an excellent way for her to begin day two of Helping Dave Paint.

Eventually, Erin got tired of watching me yell at the walls, so she resumed priming where I had left off.

I must say, I do not understand the concept of priming. Why must one paint one’s white walls white before one paints them other colors? It makes little sense, but neither does anything else when one is under the influence of paint fumes.

While Erin primed, I removed books from other shelves and dropped them on my feet. I also continued removing shelving brackets from the wall, and yelling at the former resident of my condo some more.

The walls were officially primed by around 9:30 p.m. Erin ran like hell, far, far away from me, and I made plans to go to bed. Ahhh… plans.

That’s when Spike showed up to say hi.

You see, Spike really digs paint fumes. He came to get a good whiff of them. Spike came into my home and started playing the fiddle. He was throwing down some crazy Irish tunes. He was trying to play quietly enough that nobody would hear, jamming out on an electric fiddle without plugging it in to an amplifier. It was midnight, after all. Suddenly it dawned on me that in an effort to air out the paint fumes, I had opened up all of my windows. All of them. Spike’s out-of-tune fiddle notes were spilling out into the real world where people could hear them.

I immediately took Spike’s fiddle away from him and sent him packing. I was highly embarrassed.

So, dear neighbors, I would like to apologize, on behalf of my evil twin, Spike, for the noise Sunday evening.

Oh, and also, dear neighbors, if you’re not doing anything next weekend, I’ve got this little project….

Published on Wednesday, April 4, 2007

One Response to “Blame the Paint Fumes”

  1. Erin
    April 13, 2007 at 6:34 AM

    So Dave, when are we adding colors? Do you remember what they are? I’ll be right over…

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