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Back when I found out I’d be sharing an apartment with two of my close friends I immediately went into decoration overdrive. It started with the bedding…which brought on the refinishing of furniture (still incomplete, by the way)…and then I had a decision to make: paint color. 

“Choose something soothing for your bedroom. Your room is your haven,” veteran homemakers advised me.

“Don’t be afraid of color! Now is the time to experiment!” my friends all urged. 

I was going through a “poppy” phase at the time. As in the flower. I had a penchant for everything poppy. I don’t know why, either, but there you go.  I didn’t actually buy anything with the image of a poppy on it–that would be too literal. No, I wanted the essence of the poppy, the energy of the poppy. And so in all my decorating frenzy, with the encouragement of my adventurous friends in my ear (psh, what do those homemakers know?), I picked red as my color of choice. I’ll let you reread that paragraph again to fully absorb my stupidity. Okay, moving along.

So not “red”, really. That would simply be too much. “Hacienda Tile” to be precise. A shade of coral, if you will. A kind of red-orangey concoction that called to me from the blur of paint swatches. It promised to be fabulous, bold. And then, by sheer fortune, my friend’s roommate just happened to have painted her room that exact color. And it’s fabulous. That’s all the encouragement I needed. It was fate, obviously. I would be the epitome of cool in my hot hacienda room (somewhere in the corners of my mind a little man with a sombrero shakes a maraca).  As I handed the swatch to the paint man at Lowe’s, the eyes of the lady behind me in line bulged with knowledge of my impending agony. Stodgy old fuddyduddy. I ignored her, natch.

Yesterday, I finally got to paint. I eagerly showed up at my new apartment and looked at my yet-to-be-moved-into room. I held up my paint cans like offerings to my future awesome life in my future awesome room and eagerly set to work. I opened up the tinted primer. Hmm…that’s bright. Not quite “hacienda tile”…more like “Alaskan salmon.” Oh well, it’s just the primer. I whip out my roller, my paint tray, my painter’s tape, and breeze through the room in four hours (hey, I’m working alone). I stand back to admire my work. 

…Flamingo. It’s the only word that comes to mind. A big, fat flamingo smeared itself all over my wall. I look down at my untouched Hacienda Tile and a little part of me dies. It’s just a twinge, just a trickle, but realization of what I’m doing sets in and regret begins to ooze all over me. Oh wait–maybe that’s just some flamingo on my face. Well, I tell myself, shake it off! Gird your loins! It’s going to be fabulous. It has to be. I just paid $75 for paint and supplies.

One of my swell new roomies comes in to assist and we cover the room in Hacienda Tile in record time. I stand back to admire our work. It’s bright. It’s blotchy. It needs another coat of paint.

…It’s also red. Freakin’ fire engine red. Oh, unless you turn the overhead light on. Then it’s War Eagle Orange. Don’t tell the children, but Aubie the Tiger died in my room. 

“Why doesn’t it look like so-and-so’s room?” I whine to my roomie. We stare at the wall and she shrugs. 

I’ve lamented to a few people already and no one’s been overly sympathetic. “What were you thinking?” they cry. I DON’T KNOW, I say, I WANTED A FRESH START. I WANTED TO FEEL LIKE A FRICKIN’ POPPY.  

Well, my fascination with poppies has long since subsided, but my red room does kinda resemble the fresh start of somethin’. Only this one is going to last 14 months instead of the usual seven days. It’s going to be like one long year of period. And I still have to paint the second coat tonight.

Shoot. Me in. The Face.