I decided, back in June or February, to repaint my living room. But I’ve decided that once or twice a year since we moved in, so I didn’t think much of it. Then, two weeks before my kid started Kindergarten, some weird nesting instinct kicked in and I found myself standing in the paint department at Lowe’s staring at a wall of potentially terrible color choices. It’s really an embarrassment of color options, especially considering how many of them are utter shite. Oh sure, that “whipped avocado” looks harmlessly retro on a one inch card, but spend a weekend coating your home in it and you’ll want to sell your house to avoid A. living with it, B. Rubbing soap in your eyes, or C. Wasting another weekend painting over it with some equally nightmarish version of sea foam. The paint department is a field of land mines. That’s why, a week later, one of my living room walls was a disconcerting plaid of possibility in a dozen different shades of gray and blue. Yeah, you can even f up gray.
Finally, both girls in school and no work, I was back at Lowe’s, my selection made, second guessed, and made again.
“I’d like a gallon of Gravity, please.” (Great paint name, by the way. I have a friend who refused to buy the perfect shade of green for his dining room because someone had named it “Appletini.” Names are important. (I’m talking to you, pregnant ladies – even if your dream for your kid involves a greasy pole or quick release pants, maybe let her pick her own stage-name)
The chipper kid working the counter smiles brightly. “Would you like our value, premium, or super-premium paint?” he asks.
I start to sweat. More decisions? It took me two years to pick a damn color. “Well I dunno,” I say, eager to learn more, “what’s the difference?”
“Good, better, and best,” he announces with cruise director level enthusiasm.
“Okay, thanks, but what’s the actual difference?”
He considers, scratching his hairless chin I thought. “Well, the super-premium does cost a little more, but it’s worth it.”
He must suspect I might be a bit dim, because he speaks more slowly now. “Well, you know, our value brand is still plenty good, but the super-premium is top of the line.”
I nod as though any of this is actual information. “So you’re saying one of them is better?”
“How is it better?”
He shrugs. “It’s better paint.”
Is someone filming this? My right eye starts to twitch. “HOW, functionally, as a PAINT, is it better. Does it cover better, go farther, last longer…not burst into flames…realign chakras…does it have less lead in it?”
“Oh, none of our paints contain lead.” He seems so pleased to be able to answer one of my questions that I decide to just let it go. (LET IT GOOOOOO)
“You know what,” I sigh, “just gimme the one in the middle.”
My stepmother once said on just such an occasion, “I don’t know how long you’ve worked here, but I’ve been here for five minutes and I could already do your job better than you.” I don’t say it, but you know I’m thinking it.
My living room looks spectacular, if you were wondering. I hope my cheap paint doesn’t burst into flames. I have to wonder if my chakras will ever be really up to par though.