Imagine the scene. Long hours of preparation beforehand, secret signals arranged by e-mail: “Meet at the balloons. Don’t bring a present.” A quiet Saturday morning, a vast, vacant expanse of green, no one around. Then suddenly people start showing up as from out of nowhere, running around and yelling and climbing on the nearby structures. Without any apparent signal from any organizer, soap bubbles start to fly, and the assembled crowd chases them madly. Cake is eaten. A pinyata bursts, spilling candy. The chaos engulfs the neighborhood. Then quietly, silently as it had started, the green is deserted.
Flash mob? Try a birthday party for two three year olds and their friends in the park. The weather was really quite wonderful for September, and this park had shade in the play area. We ended up afterwards at the farmer’s market, with its fall harvest festival and with membership day at the food co-op.
Our birthday present to Saul this year was a bucket of paint, carefully applied with much attention to not splashing the trim, to turn his room from off-bland white to green. We were going to paint the room orange, but once he got wind of this he let us know in no uncertain terms that he wanted it to be green. So green it was. We were careful not to paint it Scheele’s Green, which is the arsenic-based paint that poisoned Napoleon.
I don’t recall the name of the exact shade, but it went on as sort of a granny-smith apple color, and dried to a few shades darker and a bit greyer than that. In the day it’s cheery; at night it’s soothing. Seems like a good match.
I’ve been reading about green paint as well, and in Victoria Finlay’s “Color” there’s an account of how George Washington had his large and small dining rooms painted in the green known as verdegris – “verdegrease”. Color is a spectacular book, all kinds of history and travelogue mixed together as Finlay travels the globe looking for the true origins of the pigments used up unto the day when synthetic color made it relatively easy to get good colors out of vats.