It is an overcast Sunday morning in the suburbs of the city. Across to the south-west,  Roger Federer and Marin Cillic are waiting to do battle in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Tennis correspondents at the pun loving tabloids hope that they get the chance to use their “Cillic – Bang and the title is gone!”
All over the country avid Whovians are battling to control their impatience, as they beseech the gods of tennis to make it a quick three set win for either player; they aren’t fussed who just so long as it is quick. The announcement of the actor who will be the new Dr Who is scheduled for after the final.
I am sitting in the corner of the lounge of my step daughter and her partner’s newly purchased flat. It is a hive of activity. Walls that were painted yesterday are being touched up or given a second coat, old locks are being changed for new ones by the husband of my much better half’s friend and swimming buddy. Flat pack furniture from the land of quirkily named flat pack furniture and meatballs, is being constructed.

Allen keys are being cursed; somehow an evil genius has created the universally useless Allen key, with its dimensions chosen to provide insufficient leverage, and here is the really clever bit, no matter who is using it! Young or old, strong or week, female or male, dexterous or clumsy: the human who can use this Allen key is yet to evolve.
Although I am having a half decent day with my Parkinson’s, I am not entrusted with any of these tasks, so I sit and chronicle events.
The air is filled with the potential for. tiredness-induced, snappiness. One word spoken in marginally the wrong tone and the peace could be broken.
Hang on….
Sorry about that, they found a job for me: could I swap the tie back seat cushions from the two old dining room chairs to two of the new, virtually identical, dining room chairs?
“Well, now, let me see? Do I think I am up to the task of moving the two cushions, which are Velcro fastened, so I don’t even have to tie a knot.” Inhaling through pursed lips, like a used car dealer who, having kicked a tyre, is about to make a low offer. “I suppose I can give it a try…”
That is not what I said. The time was not right for sarcasm. Like Ford Prefect in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who often failed to notice sarcasm unless he was concentrating, the others, tired from actual physical effort of painting, wouldn’t appreciate a snippy reply from me, who has literally spent the last two days watching paint dry.
“Of course I will” was my actual answer.
Exaggerated politeness is the order of the day. “Would you mind…”, “sorry to stop you doing what you are doing but could you possibly help me with this…”
For a few moments we wait with bated breath as very tired step daughter is interrupted for something like the hundredth time. She takes a deep breath. I like to think that she is giving serious consideration to giving into the urge to rip someone’s head off. Instead she rolls her eyes. Her reply is both instant and yet timeless. Clocks wait, motionless between ticks. During this ‘no-time’, an endangered species of voles slips into extinction, and someone somewhere reads “War and Peace”.

“Yes, Honey, what is it?”

Finally the clocks resume ticking. No one has lost their head, neither figuratively nor literally.
Dowel by dowel, screw by screw, funny circular fitting that pulls the cabinet together by funny circular fitting that pulls the cabinet together, the flat packs become 3D objects and we have a cabinet, 4 chairs and a table. The cabinet doors provide multiple opportunities for Game of Thrones quips about Hodor, and political humour about the incompetence of the PM and her cabinet.
Federer wins, Jodie Whittaker is announced as the new, 13th Doctor and the paint has dried nicely.


2 thoughts on “Watching the Paint Dry

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