I’m approaching the end of a painting project that’s had me back and forth to Home Depot every day this week, starting on Sunday. Once to get the paint, another time because I ran out of the paint I had just gotten (who would have thought you needed two coats to go over grayish white with yellow?), another time to get small jars of additional paint samples to try out on the bookshelves in the same room, (none of them acceptable), another time to get more jars of paint samples for the bookshelves (none of these unacceptable), and this morning to get the final paint for the bookshelves. I have to get there by 7:00am in order to avoid the beach traffic on my return home.
It took a year to decide on the colors for the dining room and living room but the final decision for the color of the bookshelves was made last night and it was not based on any of the paint chips or paint samples I had retrieved. It was based on a lacy cotton ivory-colored dress. So, this morning I had to return to Home Depot with the actual dress. I carried it into the store in a plastic grocery bag and discretely made my way over to the wall of paint chips and samples. Like sneaking a bag of candy into the movie theater, I surreptitiously opened the bag and slipped in one paint chip after another to compare it to the ivory-colored party dress.
Periodically looking over my shoulder, I compared dozens of paint chips, each one I thought would be the perfect match, but the more I compared them, the further from a match it took me. The whole color matching process, I realized, was slowly and steadily turning me color blind. I made my way over to the light booth (where you can see paint chips enhanced under stronger and different types of light), and in a bold move I pulled the entire dress out of the bag and put it under the light. It didn’t help a bit, and what’s worse, now the dress was completely out of the bag.
My back was to the paint manager but apparently my activities didn’t escape his scrutiny. At 7:30 in the morning the store is nearly empty of customers, so what made me think I could escape notice? He snuck up behind me and asked over my shoulder, with a slight bit of amusement in his voice, “So what’s going on?” Sheepishly I turned to face him. He had the wrong kind of smile on his face, but the dress was out of the bag and I couldn’t reverse time or erase his memory or make myself instantly disappear, so I had to follow him over to the counter with the dress, trying to think of just the right thing to say that would give him a favorable impression of these circumstances (instead of providing him with a priceless work anecdote to share with his girlfriend).
I thought he would say, “People bring in all types of crazy things to match the paint, so this is totally normal.” He didn’t say that. He took the dress from me, adjusted his orange apron, and hooked up the dress to the computerized “eye” to break down the color code. Unfortunately, I had to interrupt him and correct his handling of the dress, advising him to use the satin inside lining instead of the lacy outside pattern to get the color match that interested me. He paused briefly and gave me a look with just one eye, held it for a second to make his point, and then turned the dress inside out to use the inside satin lining.
I’m pretty sure the rest of the day will be eventful enough for the paint manager to nearly forget all about the man with the lacy cotton ivory-colored dress. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.