Becoming Erica

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Last week I went to visit Erica, one of my oldest friends of whom I’ve always been secretly jealous. She has always been thinner, wore cuter clothes, got better grades, and went to her family’s Hawaiian timeshare every year.

Now I’m jealous for a new reason: my skinny, overachieving, jet-setting friend is also Martha Stewart in a younger, prettier package. With a big blond shiny bow.

Walking into her kitchen, I spied the best-looking high chair I’ve ever seen. High chairs are usually plasticky, bulky, laden with crumbs, and sticky with purple jelly. Erica’s was sleek, wooden, and a perfect shade of red.

“Oh … where’d you get this?” I asked, thinking it came with a $250 price tag.

“A garage sale for five bucks. I spray painted it,” she said.

When I got home, in the spirit of recycling/reusing/reducing, I decided to copy Erica. We have an old picnic table out in the backyard. It’s ugly, the paint is chipping off, it’s ready for Goodwill.

So I went to the store and bought a can of spray paint. I was going to cute up that picnic table in a fresh coat of white and turn it into my brand-new writing desk.

Halfway through my project, I ran out of paint. Rats. The color was totally uneven; a fine white mist covered the garage floor. I immediately got bored and abandoned my quest in favor of writing and eating my weight in cookies.

Is this why I’m not an Erica? I’m sure she didn’t expect her high chair to come out perfectly in less than seven minutes. She probably thought about the task, planned it out, and then went ahead with the execution. I’m sure her grades were better than mine because she actually cracked open the textbook instead of drawing flowers and hearts in the margins during class. Erica trains for half marathons and finishes them. I sign up for half marathons get bored with the training schedule halfway through, and run a 10K instead.

My husband suggested buying more paint, spraying another coat and taking my time. Ugh. Patience is so not my strong suit. I always finish what I start, but not without a lot of annoyance and sighing. All the while wondering, why did I think this was a good idea?

Oh Erica. If only I could absorb some of her enterprising, hardworking spirit. Instead, I’m impulsive and, let’s face it, lazy when things don’t work out flawlessly the first time. I could never be a Martha Stewart or an Erica. I lack the follow-through and patience. Maybe, though, I will just work really hard on working on it. One completed project at a time.


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