Pundits say you should do one thing every day that scares you, to prevent yourself from stagnating.
Fasten your seatbelt, ’cause I’m digressing already:
I have issues with the word ‘pundit’ – my brain concatenates ‘pun’ with ‘bandit’, and I get a mental image of a chortling masked villain who barges into conversations to drop a vile pun and then flee, leaving behind shock, awe, and a punny stench.
Anyway, back to ‘doing the thing that scares you’:
I’m not up for a scare du jour, but I do think it’s good to step outside my comfort zone every now and then. So last week I started a 6-week watercolour class.
You may recall a post where I mentioned I’ve dabbled in oil painting; but I’ve never posted anything about watercolour. That’s not because I haven’t tried it. I’ve been trying it since the early ’80s. I haven’t mentioned it before because I completely suck at it.
But I’ve kept all my watercolour paints and brushes, and every decade or so, I think, “Jeez, how bad could I actually be? I should give it another try. Surely I don’t suck as badly as I remember.”
Then I try it again, and yes; yes, I do suck that badly.
So I’m doing what scares me and seizing watercolour by the brushes. With the help of the supremely talented Peggy Burkosky, I will figure it out. I hope.
But even if I don’t, I’m still getting a private giggle… because the classroom has black plastic chairs, and therein lies a story.
Back in the dark days when I had to dress up and attend excruciating business networking events, polyester pants were in style. If you’ve never worn old-school polyester pants, think ‘pant-shaped plastic bag’. Now add ‘hot summer day’. Plus ‘black plastic chairs’:
After sweating through a lengthy business presentation, I rose with relief… which was short-lived when I turned to pick up my briefcase and discovered that I’d left a butt-print clearly outlined in condensation on the black plastic seat of the chair.
Should I just walk away, hoping the evidence would evaporate before anyone else noticed?
Or should I wipe off the chair?
But if I got caught in the act, what would I say? “Oh, ’scuse me while I clean up my sweaty butt-print. Hey, would you like one of my business cards? I’ve got them right here in my back pocket…”
Fast-forward to my first watercolour class last week. Blissfully unaware, I wore yoga pants made from spandex, which is basically a stretchy form of polyester. Fortunately the weather is cool now; but you can bet I did a quick little shimmy in my chair before standing up at the end of the class… just in case.
I won’t reveal my watercolour attempts yet; mainly because even after six hours of instruction, I still haven’t completed a painting. (And I might not ever admit that I’ve completed a painting. My crimes against art might go straight from the easel to the campfire.)
But hey, at least I’m not stagnating… unless you count the puddle of flop-sweat in my black plastic chair.
P.S. Remember those awful old polyester pants? What were we thinking?!?