Hiding From Serge

At long last, Bill and I are making preparations to paint our home. I can almost hear a collective cheer from any of our neighbors who read this blog. Since moving in 27-and-a-half years ago, we have painted our house exactly once. The professional painter who gave us a bid was practically speechless when we told him the last time our house was painted. Apparently 10 to 12 years is the real norm (at least if you’re a professional painter and you need to feed your family). He’s the man who painted the inside of our house last summer, so he’s used to us being hillbillies.

Bill and I are going to try to make the act of picking out a paint color a convivial experience; however, we don’t do convivial very well. I am more than thankful that as we remodeled our house the past few years, we both agreed on the important things: we wanted dark wood floors and the puke beige with which we had been living to be a lovely shade or shades of gray. Likewise, we agreed on the gray color for the carpeting. As for the navy walls in our bedroom, he let me fly on that one without saying a word. I think he likes it and I know I do.

Our painter had a few thoughts, but Bill and I were as one when we didn’t particularly agree with his suggestions. He thought we should accent our tile roof by painting our house a southwestern terra cotta. I’m pretty sure the neighbors’ heads would explode in our conservative ‘hood.

We set off to the paint and home décor store yesterday to begin the process. We were greeted by a lovely young woman. I will admit, however, that she was quite a relief to me because I was frankly terrified that our consultant would be, well…..

Do you remember Serge in Beverly Hills Cop?

I held my breath and waited for her to say, “For what it’s pertaining?” in a funny accent. And when we looked blankly back at her, she would add, “You know, what it’s meaning, regarding?” And then she would look me up and down, with my dirty blouse from having been pulling weeds in the garden right before we left the house without realizing white wasn’t a good gardening color. Though unless she is very snobby, she couldn’t possibly study us like Serge studied Axel Foley.

It’s my favorite scene in a movie full of wonderful — if profane — scenes. As an aside, I read somewhere that the actor who played Serge — Bronson Pinchott — made up the accent. Good job Bronson. It was perfectly snotty.

Conviviality seems to be the ruling emotion as of yesterday afternoon when Bill spread a sample of the paint selections on the wall. My standards are low. I explained to him that I simply want a paint color which, upon being applied, results in people walking or driving by the house to say, “Why, I think the McLains finally painted their house,” without a sneer or a gasp. Simple needs.

Our marriage survived an entire inside remodel. I hope an outside paint job doesn’t do us in.

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