Clyde the painter writer.

A painter came the house this morning to give me an estimate on some work I’d like done. He apologized for not coming last week when he had said he would.

“No problem,” I told him, “I’m here every day.” I added by way of unnecessary explanation, “I’m a writer…I work from home.”

“Yea?” I thought he asked, but realized he expected no answer when he added, “Mmmmm,” and looked down.

He started making notes on a tablet clamped to an old-looking, chipped, brown clipboard&#151one of those that have a large steel clamp at the top that looks like it could take off a finger. He was silently counting the number of shutters as I busied myself snapping spent Hibiscus flowers and putting them in a small pile in my hand.

I sensed the painter&#151he said his name is Clyde, “like the horse,”&#151 was no longer taking notes. I looked up and saw him looking at me with his head tilted like he was trying to place my name. “You say you’re a writer.”

“Yes.” I looked back at him and waited for what I assumed would be another question.

Instead of further inquiry, he again took to scribbling.

I went about occupying myself and tossed the wilted, red blooms under the porch steps. When I turned, Clyde was holding the clipboard at his side. He had the same puzzled look. “Mind if I ask you somethin’?”

“No, not at all.”

“What d’ya do when you’re not writing?”

I replied jocosely, “What do you do when you’re not painting?”

“I write,” He said, “when I’m not working.”

“Well…to me they’re the same.”

“That’s too bad,” He said. “I really like writing.”

I thought to myself as Clyde drove away, “Maybe I should get a job.”

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