Shifting a Negative Dynamic at a Paint Counter

Stained-Deck300“Maybe next time I stop by, you won’t be painting the deck,” Donna joked. 

“Don’t count on it,” I replied. Deck staining has been quite the drama. I might post the whole tale sometime. It had gone on so long that it seemed endless to me. That said, with cold weather coming in, I anticipated that I would only have through the weekend to call it complete, whether it actually was complete or not. 

I was out of paint. I ran to the store to get some more so I could continue to work in the glorious weather. I was behind a woman who agonized over the color of her paint. Her husband teased and joked about her inability to decide. His words had some levity to them, yet to my ear, they were on the edge of belittling. He used words like “anal retentive” and “crazy.” I looked for an opening to shift the dynamic, and found one.

I forget what he said that I responded to, but whatever it was, I put my hands on my hips in mock affront and said, “I resemble that remark, even though it wasn’t directed at me. Be nice, will you?” 

Everyone laughed, including the woman in distress. I continued.

“Every night I find myself in despair over my painting ordeal. Then I wake up the next morning ready to try again.” 

“So she’s not the only one?” the husband asked. 

I turned to the woman at the counter and said, “Alice, what do you think. Is she the only one who stresses over paint?”

“I could tell you some stories!” Alice exclaimed. The tone changed completely.

When we parted ways, I said, “I wish you luck! Wish me luck, too!” Alice and all the customers sent me off with a plethora of well-wishes.

Not that the well wishes helped. When I got home, I discovered that Alice had given me oil stain, and I’m using latex. By the time I exchanged it, the glorious sunshine would be gone and the deck would be too cold to work on. 

So I made myself a cup of chicory tea and curled up with my book. I would get paint after dinner. Then, I would wake up the next morning ready to hit the deck again.

And I did. It’s complete now, and it’s gorgeous. Good thing – a cold front came in this morning, as predicted. 

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