Our building is being painted. For the last month, a flock of painters on bosuns chairs has been hanging all over the building at all hours of the day, painting half of something then going away again for a week or so while they paint a third of something else, then taking three days off, then showing up again at four pm on a Saturday afternoon for an odd hour or two- it's an odd method of working that leaves the building mostly piebald, and the residents live with curtains drawn, just in case the painters happen to show up outside a window when you'd rather they didn't.
It's been a rather eventful month. There was the day that the painters discovered that a series of drain spouts had filled up with wasps nests, and one of the painters was attacked by an entire hive - while hanging from a rope, six floors up. Another day, a different painter forgot to eat his lunch and fainted on the job. Fortunately, he was only half a storey up from the ground at the time, but it was a near thing. Three quarters of the residents are not on speaking terms with ANY of the painters after a trivial little disagreement about drying times - the painters were being poetical and speaking in hypothetical absolutes, but there's a lady on the fifth floor whose mother's eighty-seventh birthday party turned out to involve quite a lot of dry cleaning for the guest of honor and several other people on the guest list when they all went out onto the balcony to admire the sun setting over the mountains.
And the concierges, who have been resolutely neutral throughout the whole process, met me at the door four days ago in a cloud of angry arms and exceedingly colloquial Spanish, after one particularly enterprising painter painted over all the water meters for all the apartments on building's south side.
Life is a constant adventure, full of surprise and mystery - and so will be our water bill this month; the meter-man was on deadline and didn't stay to wait for the paint to be scraped clear.