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A lesson for POTUS

Donald T? Are you listening? I’ve news for you. Walls make places smaller. Honestly. I know what I’m talking about here. Yesterday, I had a grand room. Plenty of light. Even the part sectioned off for the new bathroom seemed spacious. I’d have plenty of space, I thought, to try the minimalist look. Plenty of space to wander around. I even began double thinking the decision not to plumb in the washing machine. There’d be so much empty space. It was all about space. Now I’m second-guessing (too late) the distance between sink and wall and sink and shower and shower and loo and I’m just a tad worried that I got it all wrong. That I should have paid attention to the raised eyebrows as I wantonly added centimeters here and there is niggling at me.

And yes, it was all measured out on paper and I saw the plans. But I’m missing that part of the brain needed to translate numbers into images. Just like I thought I could fit a hope chest measuring 120 cm x 80 x 90 into the boot of the car because hey, they were only centimeters and centimeters are small things. Now, had he said it was 1 m 20, I’d have known better. Because meters are big things. Welcome to my world.

Walls really do make a difference. The room has shrunk. It’s darkened. It feels closed in. Even the office space looks smaller, as it should, but it seems smaller than it should. At least it’s bright, though. I’m glad I didn’t opt to build a full wall and have a hallway. The place would be like a cave, as we can’t add windows to the back wall because it looks out onto the neighbour and there’s some rule in Hungary preventing that. Windows in facing walls have to be above eye level and no larger than a certain size. What a novel approach to privacy. And while I prefer to work in semi-darkness than bright light, himself doesn’t. We’re wired differently.

When they removed the layers of horrible lino, they uncovered the traditional, old cement tiles on what will be the bathroom floor. I was tempted, fleetingly, to try to save them, but seeing as I’ve yet to find a way to clean the ones in the hallway and bring them to something close to a shine, I decided to let go of the past, to let it be buried beneath a new layer of something designed to look old. Hey, it’s all the rage. I read a post on a FB site for used furniture this week that said – and I kid you not – We’re selling our vintage furniture as it no longer fits the decor. We had it made four years ago.

But I’ve been doubting my English recently and while I think of vintage as being old, I thought I’d double check:

adjective
  1. 1.
    relating to or denoting wine of high quality.
    “vintage claret”
    synonyms: high-quality, quality, prime, choice, select, superior, best

    “vintage French wine”
  2. 2.
    denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind.
    “a vintage Sherlock Holmes adventure”
    synonyms: high-quality, quality, prime, choice, select, superior, best

There you go – vintage doesn’t mean old. Just look at those synonyms. What else have I been wrong about? Oh, yes. Centimetres.

Anyway, the ceiling is up. The lights are wired. The radiators are plumbed, as are the sink, loo, and shower. Tomorrow the rest of the insulation goes in and the concrete floor is laid. And then the tiler comes to do the floor tiles at the weekend. Seems like we’re on track. They’re all still smiling and I’ve heard no Basmegs! as yet.

Donald, take heed. If you insist on putting up that wall, America will look smaller. Trust me.

 

Grateful 47

Airports are a wonderful laboratory in which to study the human mind and make-up. I am convinced that some people pack their frustrations  alongside their socks and then spend their two hours at the airport before boarding trying to dump those frustrations on someone else. At Malta airport this week, my flight to Munich was delayed by a whopping 26 minutes. It was due to board at 9.05 and when nothing had happened by 9.20, some people were getting a tad anxious. Three men  – one German, one British, and one Maltese – were in particularly irritable moods. They seemed to be travelling individually but were drawn together by a shared frustration. They had connections to make in Munich – that was obvious – but hey – sometimes connections are missed.

The Maltese guy was having it out with the airline staff – he had a business meeting he needed to get to and why was the plane late. Technical difficulties. What kind of technical difficulties (as if that mattered!). Technical difficulties. Then the British guy adds his two pennies worth of a rant and explained that technical difficulties meant that there was no plane and we wouldn’t be flying at all. Then the German, for good measure, starts on about airlines having no respect for schedules and the importance of people.

In the meantime, on the TV in the nearby café, reporters in Syria were telling the world about two explosions in Aleppo that had killed 28 people. I sat between the TV and the trio, as if watching a tennis match. I thought briefly about pointing out to them that all the complaining in the world wouldn’t make the plane appear. I thought about mentioning that the people they were yelling at had absolutely no control over the situation. I thought about showing them the idiocy of their ways: so their plane would be late and they might miss a connection but at the end of the day, they would be alive.

But I didn’t do anything. Instead, I sat back and gave silent thanks that somewhere along the line I’ve learned to put things into perspective. As  Alice Caldwell Rice so famously said: It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains.