(written June 2004)
“Swiiiish, swiiish,” the sandpaper sang as I brought my arm down and across the wall in a wide sweeping motion. The air was littered with fine white particles dancing in the light and drifting lazily towards the floor.
With each stroke of my arm, another cloud of fine white dust was released to join the previous stroke on its relentless pursuit of a final resting place. The wall was looking fine, very fine indeed.
I was pleased. I stopped sanding. The empty coffee jar that was my make-shift sanding block was not the most efficient, but it was doing the job. I readjusted the sandpaper I had wrapped around the jar and ran my fingers over the wall. Yes, it was feeling fine and looking very fine indeed.
I thought I would soon be finished and then after a quick coat or two of paint the job would be in the bag – done, completed, finished, out-of-the-way, finito.
Once the wall was done, then the ‘store-room’ would be completed and I could finally organise my space and get down to the ‘real’ work.
I don’t know why I did it. I certainly didn’t feel the need to do it. There was more than sufficient light and I could see quite clearly. Indeed the wall looked good and the drifting mist of plaster dust was certainly evident in the air. Nevertheless, after working for a bit and being quite pleased with the results, I flipped the switch, turning on the light on the wall.
And there in the abundance of light, a multitude of flaws, lumps, bumps, lines and a myriad of other defects exploded into sight. A sigh slipped from my lips. This job was going to take more time than I had thought and initially believed.
Tightening the sandpaper wrapped around my coffee jar, I again tackled the wall with a new found sense of purpose. I would sand, and fill, and sand again, and, when truly prepared, paint this wall, and, yes, “tick” it will be done – but not as soon as I had envisaged. A set back, not major, more an inconvenience and yet it had its impact on the task.
This is life. Nothing, so it seems, ever goes to plan. This is important. When we undertake a task, allowing for the unseen, the stumbles, the unexpected provides a means to adjust and cope and, well, life happens.