Sunday, July 09, 2006

Painting The Kids' Rooms

From my friend John, the homeowner:

"Did some painting prep (light spackling and caulking) upstairs. I've painted the girls' room and our upstairs bathroom but still have two more rooms to do. Painting is such that you have to really do the prep right or the job doesn't look right. I'm sure there is a metaphor there, but I can't see it at the moment."

When I was the Music, Dance and Drama Critic for the local newspaper, I interviewed who I secretly knew was going to be the winning candidate for the conductor's position of the area philharmonic orchestra. This had to be a perceptive article, as mine was an exclusive.

"Tell me what you do at rehearsals," I began. I had been in a community chorus, a good one, for a while and I knew it's where all the work is done, all the learning, the polishing, the directing. At a concert, the conductor's work is pretty much just the final mix -- a little more here, a little less there, a little direction over there. But the rehearsals are where the foundations are laid. Musicians just don't appear on stage, no matter how good they are, and start playing the notes in front of them. Even with limited rehearsals, they need to make sure their interpretation is the conductor's, that their foundation is the same.

No dj (at least, no good dj) goes into a radio studio without having a playlist in hand, commercial announcements lined up, weather forecast handy and a bit early to chat with the previous announcer and get a feel for how things have been going. The executive chefs in fine restaurants will gather the cooks and staff to run down what's on the menu, and this is well after they have procured the meat and vegetables needed for the meals that day. Everybody knows what's going on and nobody says, "I don't know; I'm not sure." They know because they are prepared.

If it's your first time painting an interior wall, there are helpful people in hardware stores who will show you the process. You might be itching for the finished product in half an hour, but you know that it will look better and last far longer if you spend a lot of time prepping the wall, filling little holes, scraping off old paint or wallpaper, cleaning the surfaces.

You just don't run into life and figure out what you'll do when you get there.

True, parts of life will surprise you, but you should know how to change a tire before you get a flat. It's good to have a game plan of sorts for when personal or emotional disaster strikes; that's called "character." You can't plan specifics, but you can prep your life, spackle your dents, scrape off the junk that hangs on. When you get blindsided, at least you won't fly off in all directions at once.

It takes time to develop character, just as it takes time to prep the kids' bedroom walls.


Blogger Reading Reader said...

Hey, don't forget about teachers and prep time. Right now I'm cutting pictures out of National Geographic Magazines for my Creative Writing Camp tommorrow.

July 10, 2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

My daughter is a teacher.she spends as much time prepping as she does teaching.

I'm retired and have spent years prepping for retirement, using a phrase from my father's repertory: ''Always have more than one iron in the fire''.

July 13, 2006 7:33 AM  
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