Phyllis: Oh no. I just realized I scheduled dinner with Frank on the same day as my project is due at work.
Bethany: Can’t you just go to dinner after work?
Phyllis: No, I’m already way behind because I took a day off to go to the theme park with Frank. I’ve really painted myself into a corner now.

If you are painting a floor, you cannot walk over the parts that have just been painted. You have to stand on the unpainted parts while painting. If you are not careful, you might block your path to the door with paint. Any time you create a situation for yourself in which there is no easy escape or solution, you can compare it to painting yourself into a corner.


床にペンキを塗っているとき、塗りたての所は歩けません。ペンキを塗る時は、まだ塗っていない所に立って作業をしますよね。注意してやらないと、ペンキを塗り過ぎて部屋を出るドアまでたどり着けなくなってしまいます。容易に抜け出せないことや解決できない状況を自分で作ってしまうことを、こうやってペンキで自分を動けない状態「I’ve painted myself into a corner」に例えます。