Paint Job

By HUGO SCHIFFERS

After having had the most spectacular dinner, I look into her eyes and am about to lean in for the kiss, when a harsh voice interrupts the moment:

“Bill!… Hey Bill!”.

I look around but cannot see anything but the elegantly set table, on which the candles illuminate the room just enough for me to distinguish the features of the woman of my dreams. Then the same piercing voice echoes through that dream:

“Heyo Bill, hand me that sander!”

And before I know it, the roaring sound of a sanding machine cuts through the world that my mind had so carefully scripted for me.

Still, it takes me a few minutes to fully realize that I am in fact not on a spectacular date but lying in a broken UCU bed while less than a meter away from my head, 3 construction workers are molesting my window with their power tools.

The same thing has been happening day in, day out, for weeks. At 7 a.m. sharp my night’s rest is prematurely ended by the merciless and deafening noise that apparently accompanies a paint job. Now, one might say that 7 a.m. is not very early and that a lot of students and especially staff get up at this hour. And this is probably very true. However, since the same thing has been going for what feels like an eternity, my entire sleep rhythm is messed up. Now, every time I wake up at some point in the night, I anxiously look at the time on my alarm clock and try to listen if I can hear someone with an Eastern European accent on the scaffolding outside my window because I fear that the much apprehended hour has arrived already. Normally I pride myself with thinking that I am an understanding and empathetic person, but I can’t get my head around three things in this entire situation.

  1.            How a paint job can take such a long time, especially in comparison to the time that was spend on painting the Voltaire and Newton building.
  2.          Why on earth the painters ALWAYS seem to be sanding and painting my window, something that you expect to be a fraction of the job and cannot possibly take longer than an hour.
  3.           And lastly, confusing me the most: In what way it is possible that most noise is made in the first ten minutes of the day. From 7:00 to 7:10, it sounds like a rocket is being launched and from 7:11 onwards the level of noise returns to one that you expect from a peaceful paint job.

“At 7 a.m. sharp my night’s rest is prematurely ended by the merciless and deafening noise that apparently accompanies a paint job.”

But maybe I am being a bit too harsh: these men and women (in this case only men), get up early and do a job that I am probably to clumsy to do. Additionally, since last week I actually woke up every day around 7 a.m. because I can’t hear the sound of wood being forcefully scraped off a window frame: just as I am growing used to that daily circus of sounds, it has stopped. And just as the weather is turning nice and I have started to utilize the scaffolding as my personal balcony, they have taken it away. I never thought I would say it, but I miss Bill.

After having had the most spectacular dinner, I look into her eyes and am about to lean in for the kiss, when a harsh voice interrupts the moment:

“Bill!… Hey Bill!”.

I look around but cannot see anything but the elegantly set table, on which the candles illuminate the room just enough for me to distinguish the features of the woman of my dreams. Then the same piercing voice echoes through that dream:

“Heyo Bill, hand me that sander!”

And before I know it, the roaring sound of a sanding machine cuts through the world that my mind had so carefully scripted for me.

Still, it takes me a few minutes to fully realize that I am in fact not on a spectacular date but lying in a broken UCU bed while less than a meter away from my head, 3 construction workers are molesting my window with their power tools.

The same thing has been happening day in, day out, for weeks. At 7 a.m. sharp my night’s rest is prematurely ended by the merciless and deafening noise that apparently accompanies a paint job. Now, one might say that 7 a.m. is not very early and that a lot of students and especially staff get up at this hour. And this is probably very true. However, since the same thing has been going for what feels like an eternity, my entire sleep rhythm is messed up. Now, every time I wake up at some point in the night, I anxiously look at the time on my alarm clock and try to listen if I can hear someone with an Eastern European accent on the scaffolding outside my window because I fear that the much apprehended hour has arrived already. Normally I pride myself with thinking that I am an understanding and empathetic person, but I can’t get my head around three things in this entire situation.

  1.            How a paint job can take such a long time, especially in comparison to the time that was spend on painting the Voltaire and Newton building.
  2.          Why on earth the painters ALWAYS seem to be sanding and painting my window, something that you expect to be a fraction of the job and cannot possibly take longer than an hour.
  3.           And lastly, confusing me the most: In what way it is possible that most noise is made in the first ten minutes of the day. From 7:00 to 7:10, it sounds like a rocket is being launched and from 7:11 onwards the level of noise returns to one that you expect from a peaceful paint job.

But maybe I am being a bit too harsh: these men and women (in this case only men), get up early and do a job that I am probably to clumsy to do. Additionally, since last week I actually woke up every day around 7 a.m. because I can’t hear the sound of wood being forcefully scraped off a window frame: just as I am growing used to that daily circus of sounds, it has stopped. And just as the weather is turning nice and I have started to utilize the scaffolding as my personal balcony, they have taken it away. I never thought I would say it, but I miss Bill.

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