Whenever I’m in an old building or one that has fallen into premature disrepair my eyes always seem to linger on the cracked paint on the ceiling. That’s like the clincher, the one thing that defines whether or not the room has been taken care of or not. A simple stain on the carpet can be explained away easy enough but when you glance up and see peeling paint it’s a dead giveaway. Cracking paint is the ‘giant cobwebs on the staircase of the haunted mansion’ of ordinary buildings.
I saw the first crack in the paint of my bedroom ceiling today. It was quite traumatic actually. Not only did it mean I had to buy a new can of paint and a roller but it signaled something else.
My ceiling had quit trying.
They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and now I knew where my ceiling’s weakest link was. I like to imagine that all of the paint was doing its best to stay connected, like some titanium dioxide hands-across-America thing, when suddenly two little pair of hands came apart. And all the other hands gasped and tried to internalize the implications of this letting-go-of-hands. Did they suddenly envision the inevitable flaking to come or did they redouble their efforts not to let go of the hands on either side of them?
Guess that depends on the brand of paint I used to begin with.
Was that little patch of paint disgruntled or was there some good reason that it could no longer dutifully cling to the ceiling? I started to blame myself. Did I miss a small bubble when I first applied the paint? Could it be that this whole time that little spot of paint was heroically holding on, desperately fighting gravity and perhaps a tiny bit of dirt or a human eyelash that somehow got slapped up there with the rest of the paint? Or did I just get a hold of a can of paint that had a little quit in it?
If you look at the dimensions of a can of paint and then figure out how large an area you can paint with it you realize that paint is a damn flexible substance. It may look all square in the can but in the end it is the Mister Fantastic of home improvement materials. The fact that most of you didn’t understand that I was referencing a character from the Fantastic Four goes a long way in explaining why there are no comic books at Home Depot. That’s a shame, those hard working men in the tool belts deserve a little whimsy now and then.
I know what you’re saying, you’re saying “perhaps that little spot of paint was trying to give the ceiling that ‘crackle’ look that’s all the rage these days.”
I’m surprised at you. I’ve never known you to be soft.
If that little spot of paint had wanted to achieve that he would have surely discussed it with all the other paint on the ceiling before taking it upon itself to start cracking. That’s just common sense.
What’s that? You want me to believe that in the case of ceiling paint conforming isn’t as easy as it seems?
Listen, I realize that it must be harder to cling to a ceiling upside down and all than it is to sit on a wall but that’s the job and that little spot of paint knew what it was getting itself into when it signed up. Obviously you just want to make excuses. If this was your ceiling that was cracking, I’m sure you’d be singing a different tune.
I have better things to do than sit here and type good reasons why my ceiling paint is starting to peel. Fixing the problem, unfortunately for the small spot of paint, isn’t one of them.