Friday, August 07, 2009

On the Impermanence of Human Things

If the women don't find you handy, they should at least find that you have the number of a handyman. Because sometimes Google lets you down.

One of the must-do repairs on the house is the front porch, where the cement was chipping and the paint needed redone. We hired out the cement repair, but when the cement fellow quoted us $350 to paint the thing, we thought we could do it ourselves.

Until I started reading up on how to paint a cement porch. Procedures described on official-looking sites involved days of work, hundreds of dollars in supplies, and hazardous chemicals galore. Paying to have it done was starting to look more appealing.

I called a friend who fixes things. And he said: Sure you could do all that if you wanted it to last for eons. But no one really does. Scrape off the loose chips and paint two coats. It won't last as long, but when you're not the one who has to replace it in three years, what difference does it make?

This means we're doing our part to contribute to the general decline in workmanship and the increasing shoddiness of things. In fact, we're probably doing exactly what the guy before us did, which is why it started chipping again so soon. It feels a bit shameful, but what sense is there in spending the next two weeks and hundreds of extra dollars to make a paint job that will last to the end of time on behalf of a person who won't pay us a penny extra for doing it right?

So the world continues to decline.

1 comment:

Steve said...

It's a hard balance. If you build everything to last forever, you'd go broke with no time for important things - family, food, books. And as you say, you won't reap any extra benefit from it.

What's the use of the rest of the earth falling down to grey dust and those nicely-painted steps being the only thing rising above sea/swamp level?