Last Thursday, they started painting the corridors in the apartment. While the building where I live is generally kept in good order, the corridors could use a paint job: they haven’t been painted since we moved here in 2003.
Aesthetically, I wish they hadn’t: the old paint was a light yellow, which was pleasantly warm originally, when lit by incandescent lights, and still decent when the lights were replaced with fluorescent bulbs. The new paint job is a blue-gray color, dismal and cold. Did they choose such a grim color so that we’d all know they had been painted?
And then, in the lobby, someone posted a notice that the apartment doors were being painted with (gasp!) oil-based paint. “Oil-based paint is a paint whose primary component is oil,” the notice reminds us. (As opposed to, say, peanut butter?)
“Do you want your children to breathe these fumes?”
At this point, my son is old enough that I can no longer control what he breathes. But if he were younger, while I wouldn’t take him to a paint factory, I can’t get upset about the paint on the apartment doors.
When I was a kid, oil-based paint was common enough as a wall paint, and the smell of a freshly-painted apartment was part of its charm. But I have to wonder if the people who are fear for their children from freshly-painted doors ever change their shower curtains: the funk from a new plastic curtain can make a bathroom uninhabitable for a week.
* * *
On my way home this afternoon, the trains were screwed up: a blackout in Brooklyn. I feared for the worst as I took an alternate route home. But the lights were still on when I got home. Whew: I had loaded up on groceries this morning.
I have to wonder, though: we never had to worry about blackouts in New York City until a few years ago. Electricity in the city was expensive, but reliable. Now, some part of the city loses power every year: a couple of years ago, part of Queens was in the dark for over a week.
Maybe if electricity got cheaper, one might consider it a fair trade. But it’s still expensive, and Con Ed has asked for yet another rate increase.