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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

August 1, 2009


If God would have sent an eleventh plague upon Egypt, I think it would have been dust. I have been having some work done in the house and everything seems to cause dust. They are removing the popcorn/cottage cheese ceilings. That is really dusty. Then they plaster them and then they sand them – more dust. They are rewiring the house and cutting huge holes in the walls and that is very dusty. They are sawing and drilling and pulling wires and climbing up and down a ladder into the attic space. That is very dusty. The holes are still open until the inspector comes and looks at them and until then, there is dust.

There are holes drilled into the ceilings for the pot lights – more dust. There is a hole drilled for a new bathroom fan – more dust. The men came and put in new windows and knocked out the old ones – more dust. Except for the fact that this crew was the handsomest group of three young men I have seen for a while, I would have pulled my hair. I am sure that I will enjoy it all when it is done but until then, I am hating the dust.

I am going around this weekend, futilely spraying a dust cloth with Endust and wiping off surfaces, to no avail. I go by a few minutes later and they are covered with dust again. I wonder how big a task it is going to be to get it all clean again. The workmen will return next week and it will all get even dustier than it is now. How did I manage to get myself into such a mess? Should I have done this bit by bit? Second guessing is not good and the contractor assures me that it will soon be done.

The Hebrews, when they mourned or lamented, put dust or ashes on their heads. I don’t need to do that, the dust just naturally covers everything including my head. The Bible also reminds us that we came from dust and to dust we shall return. I am glad that God does not get tired of His dusty creatures.

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