My start in the painting profession, in the ‘60s, involved experiences shared, I suppose, by “interns” and “entry level” employees everywhere.
I speak of those mildly uncomfortable moments when a client or employer asks you to do something that is outside of your job description, like “would you please walk my dog?” Now, I always like to lend a hand; if I see a motorist stalled in an intersection, I will abandon my car to help push his car to the curb. So, when my customer asked, “Don, would you please take Bogie for his walk?” It was no big deal – that is until I got outside. As I walked Bogie, her miniature poodle, I was suddenly overcome by that uncomfortable feeling sometimes experienced in a dream. You know the one; you have decided that it is perfectly OK to go walking in the nude until you encounter a neighbor, and suddenly you realize your mistake.
Another time, a lady chose to feed me tri-tip by hand, that is, from her hand to my mouth. This intimate moment was prompted by the fact that my hands were covered by deck stain, I was on my knees (staining her deck) and I had skipped lunch. But, what the heck, both experiences arose from good relationships; I had come to know these women and they felt comfortable around me. That’s a good thing.
Counter that with the time a woman I had just met asked me to help her belch her water bed. I was in her master bedroom, providing a painting estimate. Her husband was downstairs sharing wine with their neighbors. Before us, a large waterbed, denuded of bed covering, spread its plastic expanse, exposing a large bubble of air. The helpful car-pusher in me joined forces with the eager salesman, and soon we were both on the bed trying to corral the pesky bubble. Facing each other, we wrapped the bubble with our arms and began squeezing it toward the vent. When it suddenly escaped to a far corner of the bed we were faced with one option – roll toward the bubble forcing it to rise to the middle again. It was at that moment that I realized the slightly ribald nature of our venture: that uncomfortable feeling returned, the dreamscape with the neighbor looking on. Our “mission accomplished” moment added to my humiliation: not a “belch” but the opposite, like a cow relieving herself.
By the way, the tri-tip was delicious, but Bogie took forever to do his business. I didn’t get the job with the waterbed lady.