Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Encounter with Black Paint

Everyone ought to bear patiently
the results of his own conduct.
- Shakespeare

This weekend I had the opportunity and good fortune to paint the metal frame of our big awning on the back porch. The awning canvas is away at the shop being adjusted, so the frame--a collection of steel pipes with black paint that has been peeling away for years--is bare.

First step was to sand the pipe to remove the loose paint. But before that I put some plastic tarp on the patio, just in case I might spill some paint on the stone. Of course the flecks of loose paint went everywhere, especially on the top of my head.

I had planned ahead. At Home Depot I bought spray paint and a can of paint, just in case. But the spray paint was messed up--the spray cap didn't fit, and when I tried to make it fit the paint went in all directions. I tried again and again, thinking that maybe it was a test of wills, but now my hands were covered in paint. Then it occurred to me that I might be able to discharge the contents of the can into a plastic container and then use a brush. Seemed like a good idea at the time. In the process, the plastic tarp became saturated, and some of the paint leaked onto the patio.

About an hour later, after scrubbing the stone with paint thinner and putting down a new tarp, I was back on track. No problem, I thought calmly, I'll just use the paint from the can, but when I opened it I discovered that it was sparkling white instead of the black that I needed. I stared at the white paint for quite a while just to be sure it was not black. It was not at all black.

I could just quit, but the frame would rust without paint, and I won't be able to paint it after the canvas is stretched on.

Wow. I realized that this was one of those very important moments when I have the opportunity to test the limits of my character instead of screaming and hitting things. More later...

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