(Gawd. Remember that song? I recall doing pounding aerobics in a thong leotard to that very piece of music, back in the day when I could pull off a thong leotard. Shows you how long ago that was.)
I spent the weekend peeling wallpaper at El Rancho. Not as glamorous as thong aerobics, but probably burned a few Cs. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Boyd, the fellow who was installing our wood stove, complimented my technique. He laughed, recalling two impatient fellows stripping a sportsman-themed room up in the hills. “Took divets out of the walls the size of your fist.”
“I’m a knitter,” I replied. “I relish boring, repetetive activities.” (I probably didn’t say, “relish,” but let’s pretend I did.) “Besides. It’s easier than writing.”
Isn’t that why we love knitting? Because it’s in our bodies? You have to think a bit here and there, especially when learning a new trick or working a tough pattern, but mostly we’re using our physical selves. Holding a growing sweater in our laps. Flicking our fingers. Tugging at a ball of yarn. I won’t argue that wallpaper abatement is as tactile and sensual as knitting, but it appeals to that elemental side of us that enjoys tasks with defined boundaries. To make visual progress on something you can see and touch, that’s enormously satifying. Afterward, I felt tired in that clean, muscular way, not mentally exhausted and confused like after a day of writing.
That said (Warning: Wallpaper lovers, cover your eyes.) there should be codes prohibiting wallpaper use. Even nice wallpapers like these. Wallpaper, borders, friezes, ceiling papers (oh, God, especially ceiling papers), anaglypta and otherwise, they are all bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Why? Because enivitably they have to come down. Paint? Cover it up. But wallpaper? Whether it’s five, 10 or 40 years later, the stuff inevitably is landfill bound. Had there been no wallpaper to remove, I would have enjoyed the aches and pains and rewards of a fresh paint job. But as it stands, we have retexturing, priming and painting to look forward to. Yes, and all those things are easier than writing, too, but must be shoe-horned into precious knitting hours.
So paint an idiosyncratic mural. Hang stunning works of art. But leave the wallpaper at the paint store. ‘Kay?