“Don’t try to tell me what we should do, Pearl. You know you have no head for color scheme,” Dale chastised his wife as they parked the car and entered the Lucky Chinese Buffet for their customary Sunday dinner. Following a hostess to their table only long enough for Dale to give the girl their drink order, Dale and Pearl each picked up a plate and headed for the bright lights and rising steam of the buffet. Heaping their plates with food, the couple returned to their table and tucked in.
“The color I picked for the room is the color we will paint it. End of discussion,” Dale managed to croak in-between mouthfuls of bourbon chicken and some kind of pinkish meat on a skewer. Of course, there really hadn’t been a discussion. Pearl had asked about repainting their guest bedroom a cheerful yellow and Dale, per usual, immediately shot her down and told her in no small detail how the room would be painted, furnished and decorated. Not wanting to upset her husband, Pearl immediately acquiesced and hadn’t said another word on the subject. But Dale wasn’t done driving his point home and had continued the one-sided discussion for the last two hours.
“As far as I’m concerned, you can just fo—“ Dale’s unexpected silence drew Pearl’s attention from her wonton soup to find her husband turning several shades of red and grasping at his throat. “Oh my! He’s choking! Someone, help!” Pearl squeaked as she ran to assist her husband who was now a lovely shade of magenta.
“Welcome, Dale. Please pick up the paintbrush to your left and enter the room ahead of you. Today you will be painting the room, Misty Lilac,” the disembodied voice seemed to come from everywhere. Dale did as he was instructed and began painting. He painted and he painted. Finally, as the second coat was drying, Dale began to put down his brush when the voice returned. “Dale, I’m afraid there has been a change. We now need the room painted Lazy Sunday. You will find the paint next to you,” and without another word the voice was gone. Looking at the new gallon of paint by his feet, Dale was having trouble distinguishing the new shade from the one already on the walls. “But this is the same color!” Dale looked around as he shouted to the empty room. Left with little other choice, Dale pried off the lid of Lazy Sunday and began to mix the paint. After what seemed like another two days, Dale slopped on the last of the new paint color and fell to the ground in complete exhaustion.
“Dale! Get up! There’s been another change; apparently they wanted Lavender Lace, not Lazy Sunday. You’re going to need to repaint the room again,” the voice boomed. “Are you kidding? All these damn colors look the same! What is this place? Where am I? What is the deal with painting this F-ing room???” Dale’s confusion and exhaustion had left him on the brink of a mental breakdown. The lingering silence seemed to be the only answer he’d get. Letting out a sigh, Dale began to pour the first of Lavender Lace into the paint tray when the voice abruptly answered each question with one word, “Purgatory”.
Dale lifted his quivering arm and rolled over Aqua Dream with Tahitian Breeze, the 3,897th paint color he had applied since arriving in this God-forsaken place. Complaining, arguing, bartering, and attempts to quit were all futile. This was his forever. Around the time he was edging the window with White Heaven (ironic, no?) Dale had begun to think about Pearl, and how poorly he had treated his sweet, timid wife. “I should’ve let her have a say. I should have listened to her ideas. She’s very bright, why couldn’t I just shut up and let her contribute?” Dale mumbled to himself as he opened a fresh can of Palatial Sky.
“Dale? Dale, sweetie can you hear me? Just hold on sweetheart, just hold on to me. I’m right here.”
Funny, Dale could have sworn he had just heard Pearl’s voice. Putting down his brush, Dale wiped his hands on the back of his trousers, looked around and stepped beyond the door.
“Ah-hack, ack,” Dale sputtered and coughed as the piece of General Tso’s Chicken came flying out of his throat. Looking around in complete confusion, Dale finally focused on the woman who was holding his head in her lap, “My sweet Pearl,” he said before another coughing fit silenced him. Dale was back in the Lucky Chinese Buffet and it appeared he had only been ‘gone’ for about 30 seconds. “Oh honey, I was so scared,” Pearl hugged her husband and tried unsuccessfully not to sob.
“Baby, I’m so sorry. I think we should paint the room any color you want, yellow sounds lovely, if that’s the color you would like,” Dale wrapped his wife in his arms and breathed a sigh of relief. Pulling back suddenly, he looked Pearl in the eyes and said, “But let’s hire a professional painter, ok?”
The Not so Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Well, today I finally got the first coat of paint up in my guest bedroom. This has been a project long in the making… let’s just say the paint was purchased on a day when I was still wearing long sleeves comfortably (today it was well over 90 degrees in Orlando). I hate painting. Hate it. Does anyone really like this chore? Don’t get me wrong, I like the end result (usually) but the taping, and the stirring, and the edging, and the drip-wiping, and the rolling…. Ugh. Gag me with a pitchfork. Add to that my increasing doubt about the color I chose (really Sam, another blue room???). It took us about 2 hours, when all was said and done, but to me it felt like an eternity. I couldn’t imagine having to do this everyday, over and over again… talk about purgatory. Second coat tomorrow… sigh.
TWO: Tonight dinner was at the Lucky Buffet. Andy has been craving a good Chinese buffet and I might have mentioned that I knew a place. I tried to be good, ate two plates full of honeydew, watermelon and oranges before… well nevermind. Sammy is not feeling so hot right about now, suffice to say.
Love & Squirrels.