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Portrait of a pandemic


Mallam Unmuzzled

Me, myself and  I … and three cans of paint.

The Rolling Stones got it right (or song writer Jerry Ragovoy a.k.a. Norman Meade) with the lyrics of their 1964 hit cover song:  “Time is on my side; yes it is …”

In fact, with this pandemic having cut down, curtailed, or outright cancelled so many of my favourite arts and entertainment events, I now have too much time on my hands.

Maybe because I’m at home more, or maybe because global uncertainty has made me reflect more about health, home, happiness — whatever the reason, I am now channeling my own lull in creativity into DIY projects.

And it’s not just me. Record housing prices and real estate sales in Canada last month paint an interesting picture of how a pandemic can inspire  us to buy and sell homes, and sales of renovation materials are through the roof.

It stands to reason.

When you spend hours, in solitude, or with your small social bubble, (which in my case, consists of me and two convivial cats,) you start to notice the things around you. Like frayed sheer curtains, tired, outdated decor, broken bathroom tiles and leaky kitchen faucets.

For weeks, I’d been casting a critical eye at my front door, with its pastel, peeling paint, always telling myself that I would get at it … some day, when I had more time. Then, poof, a pandemic and suddenly, there it was.

All the time in the world.

A quick shop inventory revealed three cans of black, matte finish, exterior, latex paint. Perfect. Black wooden door against white metal siding. What a classic statement.

I would have preferred to paint it red in solidarity with the red alert for the entertainment industry but Elizabeth Arden has pretty much got the red door thing covered. Also, my neighbours might object to any gaudy display of brothel red.

Actually, I would like to paint the whole town red to show support for all the talented and creative people who have lost their livelihood and taken a punch to their passion. Art imitates life and right now the picture seems bleak.

But we will survive (yes, lyrics to another song). It all comes back to Dr. Charles Darwin and his theory on humans’ ability to adapt. He reasoned that our behavioural response to changes in our environment can help us survive.

So just as we’ve adapted to disinfected hands, wearing face masks and keeping our distance,  I’m in makeover mode. Change my environment, the colour of my front door, anything to keep up the appearance that everything is fine.

As home stagers and decor magazines love to tell us, It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do.

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