When one has offered to help a dear friend do a heckuva lot of work, there are thoughts/concepts that should be checked at the door, things like ego, personal hygiene, timetables, and, if you are Erin, the concept of having your own cigarettes (as I will be begging them from her, without regard for my own dignity or her wallet, throughout the course of the evening).
We are in our second week of working on Erin’s house, and aside from the aforementioned articles, I’ve come across another item that I seem to have set aside, not on purpose, but accidentally.
That item? My grip on reality.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the You-Gotta-Be-Kiddin’-Me Super Happy Fun Time Hour!
Let me set the stage for you: It’s 10:00 on a “work night”. Through various cleaning maneuvers I have accumulated a long-gone and unknown pet’s dander in my lungs, wallpaper glue in my hair, several fingernails that now double as paint chippers/removers, and a fine layer of grit on my skin that makes me look like the Crypt Keeper in certain lights. I’ve gone outside to sit on the front steps, to breathe deeply, to cough, to stop the repetitive wallpaper-removing dance that has consumed my mind and built up the muscles in my right arm.
Ahhh. What a night. It’s fall in Minnesota, the air is sharp and dry. It is dark in this neighborhood, except for a faint light coming from what might be a library or an office in the high school across the street. It’s so nice, to sit and stare, so comforting to go limp and mindless, to stare into the high school.
And here’s why my grip on reality loosens, because what’s the point of staring if you can’t have fun with it?
So I stare into a first-floor room at the high school. The dim light from what appears to be an office of some sort seems to outline a figure, sitting, I imagine, in front of a computer screen (what else?!). It’s easy to see her, her hair in a bun, her clothes strangely Victorian. When did Minnesota become a state, anyway? 1863? Hmmm. She sits. She sits. She sits. She raises a pop can to her lips and she – wait, she what?
She what? My imaginary friend is doing what?
One of the side effects of hard physical work and then dark quiet? The ability to hallucinate on command, my friends! I stare, dreamily, as I watch her finish her can of pop, set it down, rise, and walk out of the room.
Foolishly, I have confessed my mind's vacation to Erin and T; and they tease me about the “ghost”. T stares at me when he thinks I’m not looking, seemingly concerned about the state of my mental health, and doesn’t let me touch the sharper tools anymore.
No worries. I’m just letting my mind amuse itself while my body works, tediously, on the minutiae of removing painted wallpaper from the walls.
I’ll be fine in a couple weeks. Until then, I’m going to let my brain have its fun. A gal’s gotta enjoy herself, you know.