Rulers and Other Mathematical Devices

One of the more annoying habits of humans is this need to keep changing bits and pieces of the household. The small things we’ve learned to tolerate – moving the furniture around, putting a slipcover over the sofa, planting herbs in the backyard….The humans usually refer to these as DIY and it almost always occur after watching certain TV programs.

The most recent binge of DIY activity led to one of our most hated human activities – painting. We hate the smell, we hate the wetness, we hate how days are lost to this activity. The humans ignore us during this period and our attempts to demand the attention we deserve usually results in our bodily removal from the room and a closed door in the face.

This time was no different, though the humans were at least restricting the activity to one wall this time. We were certain this meant that the humans would spend less time on the activity but we underestimated their determination. This attempt involved painting stripes on the wall so not only was there painting but a great deal of prep before hand that required painters’ tape, a measuring tape, and an endless array of pencils.

We left the humans to their project and found a comfortable place to rest where the smell of paint was barely perceptible. After an eternity, the humans finally emerged and dinner was served. The next day there was “touch-up” work but overall, the humans seemed satisfied with their work.

But then the humans started looking at the wall they had painted. There was some head scratching and head tilting and we had to investigate. Well, it was certainly interesting. To all appearances, the stripes were, well, slightly askew. We joined the humans in pondering this. Careful measurements showed that the lines were straight and yet, they appeared ever so slightly tilted.

Though not intended, the humans had apparently created an optical illusion. It quickly became a favorite topic of conversation. Friends not seen inside our home in months, if not years, were stopping by just to see this curiosity. Worst of all, no wine was proffered by any of these interlopers though many jokes were made about how much wine was drunk while painting the wall.

At least the painting was done and we could reclaim our full territory. Or so we thought. After watching yet another home improvement show, the humans thought they had a way to “improve” their odd wall. More paint, another layer of stripes – the whole thing took on a life of its own. And the end result? Deep regret on the part of the humans. The humans proclaimed it to be a “disaster” and yet more paint was purchased.

Another long discussion and happily the humans agreed that the best solution was one solid color. So here we are, having endured a seemingly endless painting project and at the end of it all, one wall is now yellow. A nice, sunshine yellow, guaranteed to  make your feel happy, but it would have been so much easier on us if the humans had gone this route in the beginning.

Well, now we certainly deserve a bit of wine. A nice Cabernet perhaps. We have a 2016 River Walk from California that’s so easy to drink it makes even the most taxing DIY projects almost acceptable. Yes, a glass of good wine, a bit of cheese, and an end to the painting. At least the weekend will end well.


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