It was painting day at the Panini shop. As of right now I seem to be bathing in a slew of Panini’s so you will have to deal with yet another sandwich-store related rambling. We had decided to scrimp a bit in the paint department since our bay has outlandishly high ceilings. We didn’t want to be spending a small fortune on paint, so we chose the cheapest orange (The Hot Wire’s logo colour) paint we could find.
I was pumped and I just knew it was going to be spectacular!
However after the fourth application of paint I began to get a little perturbed. By perturbed I mean sobbing hopelessly on the ground asking the thin air in front of me why I could still see every damn brush stroke and flaw that this stupid wall had to offer.
I asked Jamie to go ask the paint shop people across the street what we could possibly be doing wrong. I would have gone myself but lately I’ve been trying this “kindness” thing on for size and let’s just say I wasn’t in a particularly kind mood at that moment.
It turns out orange is one of the most difficult paints to apply. Right from the beginning this detail in combination with our super insanely cheap paint was a cocktail for the perfect disaster. These were the “expert’s” exact words to Jamie when he explained our painting plight.
Would have been nice to know when we were in there yesterday buying all of this contemptible orange paint—but okay, thanks for the tip Tips.
Things started looking up however after applying the fifth and final coat to the walls. I was feeling good until I looked at the time to find that I had about seven minutes to get to the kids’ school to pick them up. Now if you know me, you know that this would have sent my emotions reeling. I had to get across the city in seven minutes or else I was going to be late. Me? Late? NEVER!
As I spotted my car I contemplated doing the whole jump and slide over the hood spectacle but envisioned myself simply body slamming into the side of it as a feeble alternative. I’d probably dent it up pretty bad and end up smearing the still wet paint from my clothes all over its white exterior too. It would be a mess. So I just walked around to the driver’s side instead.
I was making good time until that sweet little elderly woman cut me off.
“Be calm Lindsay, it’s just a little further. Stay calm.” The ninety year old was topping her motor vehicle out at a whopping 30 kilometers an hour. I had what was adding up to be a damned convoy behind me of angry motorists some of who were even flipping me the bird.
I was about to throw down some pretty creative language myself when I remembered my “Quest for Kindness”. Earlier that day my friend Janelle and I were talking about how we wanted to actively bring more kindness into our lives and the lives of others. I’ve said that before, but I actually meant it this time—I swear. So I curled down my middle finger and gently put my hand back on the wheel.
Eventually I got to school. I wasn’t even late…by that much. It actually killed me a little inside.
On our way home the kids asked to stop at the park. As much as I just wanted to get home and wash the remnants of that dastardly orange paint off of my skin I agreed because I’d rather them blow off steam in the open fields of the park than in the small confines of our car.
Moments after sitting down I noticed a few of the surrounding parents staring at me.
Some of them were having full out conversations and I seemed to be their subject matter.
If I were in a bad 90’s movie I would have said something catty like, “take a picture it lasts longer.”
I was worn down from a wretched day. Sodden in sweat stained clothes and crappy orange paint. My hair was whipping about wildly as I had lost my tie somewhere in the midst of it all. I probably looked homeless. No wonder these jerks wanted to style a few verbal jabs in my direction. I gave them a friendly/awkward smile and a wave. They looked shocked that I had acknowledged them and that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.
Perhaps that’s why I then yelled in the grimiest of voices, “Come’n kids! Uncle Toenail gets out on parole today and it’s our turn to pick him up!”
And it occurred to me that sometimes kindness can be as simple as giving the judgmental strangers on the next bench over something interesting to talk about.
Lindsay Brown is an Alberta mother of two and freelance columnist.