“I’m not afraid of you.” I stood tall in my paint splattered clothes facing the 8-foot ladder.
“Yes, you are, but I won’t hold it against you.”
I was talking with a ladder. An inanimate aluminum object.
That’s not surprising. Or unusual. I talk with inanimate things all the time. But they usually don’t answer back.
I was in the new ballet school space preparing to paint one of the studios. Our youngest daughter practically lived in the old ballet school space, coming home occasionally to eat and sleep. She cried when she found out the school was moving. It was such a big part of her life.
She’s moved on. The school is moving. Marc and I haven’t moved on. We still love what the school – and the associated ballet company – do. And we still volunteer our time to help them.
So, on a cloudy Tuesday – the last day of winter – I found myself talking with a ladder in an empty studio, a can on paint in my hand.
With a resolute sigh, I opened the can of paint and poured some into the roller pan. Loading the paint roller, I turned and attacked the closest wall. There’s something Zen-like to painting. Moving the roller up and down, diagonally each direction, dipping for new paint, rolling again. The walls look fresh, clean, new. I even like the smell of paint.
But I don’t like climbing up and down ladders. I painted all the wall space I could reach before I faced the ladder again.
“What are you worried about? I’m sturdy. I’ve never knocked anyone off my rungs. You’ll be fine.”
Assurances from a ladder.
“I don’t trust ladders. What if you move your rung just enough to trip me when I’m climbing up? Or what if I lean too far over and shift your balance? Then what?”
“Won’t happen. You will be extra careful climbing and leaning. And, you can hold on to me with your free hand while you paint if that makes you more comfortable. It will be like holding hands.”
“That’s just a bit creepy, but OK.”
We got through it, the ladder and I. We’re good buddies now. We hold hands.
The new space is beautiful. Full of light, new, clean, with good sized studios. The lobby has happy, sparkly chandeliers. There is lots of parking. I’m happy for the owner, who has become a friend. I can’t wait for my daughter to see it. And a whole new generation of dances who call it home.