Among the unfinished new house bits there’s nothing serious: missing cover pieces for cabinets, door hinges not screwed in properly, the carpet strips not tacked down well. Through winter I hardly open the back door so never noticed the railing was never painted. Primed, yes: the gritty grey surface shows that. But a rail should be white and glossy.
This is an eminently male painting job. No color choice is required, and any finish would be acceptable. The most inept man could do the job at least as well as any ten-year-old. Given the lack of judgment or specificity, I can enjoy the hardware store trip for one quart of cheapest high-gloss exterior white paint. I already have a brush.
The job is small, pleasant: the weeknight evening kind. The can instructions are too small to read but I know to shake the can, upside down. The back deck steps feel smooth but gritty, as if floured, but the paint goes on in smooth, messy strokes.
As I am painting I am painting. I don’t feel driven to write blog posts about my inner landscape, about the need to be somewhere else, do something important. It all seems like a lot of work that belongs to someone else. I am painting. The white is very white, even in shadow.
The brush hushes the paint on.
The job ends easily, without incident. The few drops wipe up and the paint shines. Some hours must pass before the second coat, but I’ll do that tomorrow. It’s not urgent. I don’t feel driven to do it. The back door is open and the radio is on. It is okay. There is nothing to fear or consider or even know. Children can paint. We can all do this. It isn’t work when it is small and seen for what it is.