I’m not Tom Sawyer

When my uncle first asked us to go help him out with some painting, I thought “Great! This is probably as close as I’d get to be a decorator/interior designer”. This was a couple of weeks ago. Procrastination running deep through our veins, the matter was filed under least priority and we engaged in much important tasks of sleeping, eating and watching TV on mute. As two weeks went by, it occurred to my brother that this was an opportunity make some cash. After all, they needed someone to paint and we’d definitely come much cheaper than a professional painter. All things under consideration we made the decision to offer our services. As things would have it, bare walls weren’t going to wait for procrastinators. Though, we were left with the choice of painting the fence and the garden shed. A hot summer day spent toiling hard sounded exactly as it did, hard work. As money wasn’t an incentive enough for me, I found myself thinking about Tom Sawyer and wished I’d come across gullible kids I could trick into doing my work. As luck may have it, my uncle decided to pick us up the night before as he trusted our punctuality and dedication to the job. So, there we were leaving all the way to Enfield, (mind you it was only a half an hour journey) at 11 in the night. This may have been the first time in a long while that I went to bed early. The thought of work that lay ahead of us was enough to shut my brain down and gather up all strength.

I couldn’t believe that I managed to wake up to what my parents would call morning. What is it about staying at other people’s places that makes you want to stick to the correct time-zone?  Okay, I’m lying. There was no way in hell that I was going to wake up before 12 during the holidays for anyone. If not for an eager three-year old testing the volume of his screams, I would still be lying there curled up under the duvet. I believe it is absolutely necessary to let others know how you’re feeling and was intended to wake my brother up too. After all, it is good to have breakfast rather than the easier brunch. To my relief I didn’t have to face his wrath at the rude awakening; the toddler had carried out my intentions to the perfect standard and gone to the trouble of dragging my brother out to play. After wading through the unfamiliar territory called breakfast, our schedule was laid out. Apparently, painting doesn’t just mean a lick of paint. These fences liked to be covered in not one coat of paint but two and if lavish could even don a whole three coats of paint. Sticking to mediocrity we decided on two coats of paint.

When the seal on that paint bucket was broken, I knew there was no going back. In fact, holding the brush in my hand I felt like I belonged. I don’t know how my parents would take to my latest aspiration but I do know that this might be given more consideration than the prospect of being an archaeologist. So yes, there I was, on my way to being a painter. Whilst I was still on one side of the garden shed, my brother had moved on to the fence. Money motivates people in mysterious ways. I on the other hand, was yearning for artistic perfection. It is important to paint beneath the wood panels, even though you won’t notice it, painting it completely gives you a sense of satisfaction. Why, I even thought I’d be able to finish this without spilling paint on myself. Though, that wasn’t something left to me. The fence not being enough to express my brother’s feelings he’d extended his canvas onto me as well. By the end of the first coat, it was not just the fence and the shed that looked visibly brown. I’d also like to say that I had the privilege to go out for lunch looking like an artwork, more than a painter.

One more coat and I’d have created quite the masterpiece. Whilst we were painting in the garden under the boiling sun (26 degrees is boiling here!), the neighbours sipped on Magners; this spurred us on to getting the job done as quickly as possible. The hours ticked away and there it was, the end result.

At that moment, I felt sorry for Tom Sawyer. It certainly wasn’t every day that you’d get a chance to paint a fence nor was it every day that you’d feel that satisfaction at doing something perfectly. So yes, I’m not Tom Sawyer and I’m glad that I’m not.

Ps: This post is dedicated to Totalliemeh. Thank you very much for all the encouragement! All credit goes to you :)

I’m not Tom Sawyer