"Do you hear that sound? That's your yarn...it's crying"~ Magenta Sequins

Monday, November 15, 2010

Color by Numbers

you know that people don’t, as a matter of course, have green hair?

It’s true. Green hair is “unconventional”; rebellious, even.

Up until recently, I had no idea.

As most (read: both) of you, who read my blog (whenever I update the damn thing) know, I’m color blind. On the off chance this is news to you, I’ll explain it as briefly and as succinctly as possible:

It’s red/green color blindness which also includes brown. It’s not that I don’t see red, green or brown (I’m not a dog, people), I just have a really hard time differentiating between the three when they’re all the same shade*. i’m not sure, exactly, how it works but I think a very large part of it is psychological since I know stop signs and fire engines are red and streetlights are red green and yellow, etc.

it’s other stuff that’s tricky; things like produce, plant life and hair color. These three things are not required to be one color or another. They can, and often are, any color. It’s this “grey area” that throws my brain into a tizzy.

For example, Sundays is the day we do our weekly food shopping at the local Stop & Shop or the not-so-local Wegman’s. If CawfeeMate is tied up with homework, I’ll go alone to Stop & Shop and, invariably, spend an extra twenty minutes in the produce aisle trying to buy apples for his lunch. See, CawfeeMate prefers “Golden Delicious” apples over the other varietals (while I, myself, prefer apples only in pie form). What i have learned since shopping for his apples is that the “golden” in the title refers to the color which the apple aspires to be (if an apple can be said to have any aspirations, at all); the apples start off green and become “golden”. This color change is, apparently, quite evident to those of you born with the typical number of cones in your eyes, thus letting y’all know which ones are, in fact, golden and delicious as their name suggest. To me, however 99.9% of the apples in the Golden Delicious bin look exactly the same with their bruised skin as the only indicator of which ones to toss in my cart. Another fun fact about apples, unlike other fruit or vegetables, you can’t leave them in a bag to ripen; they stay green (or so I’m told).
It seems that, when in doubt, my brain fills in the proverbial blanks. How it chooses the colors  is a mystery to me though. I’m pretty sure it goes by what I think I know. From the time we’re little, we’re taught that trees have brown trunks and green leaves so all trees, to me, regardless of the season, have a brown trunk and varying shades of green leaves (I’m guessing that if the leaves turn brown or dark red, I’m seeing these as darker green). Visually speaking, autumn is not quite as fun and fab for CawfeeGuy as it is for the rest of you.

Hair color, though, is my favorite. For a ridiculously long time, I thought CawfeeMate’s goatee was green; I would’ve sworn to it on a stack Cher LP’s. I knew it wasn’t green, that it was either red or some shade of brown, but couldn’t be certain which. My brain defaults to (what I have heard described as) acid green: the same color I recognize as the glow inside a Borg ship, on Star Trek: Voyager. It, like the hair color of thousands of other people I’d met, was kinda fab. It was only when I asked him about it, like a week ago, that I found out it was “strawberry blonde”. This led him to break to me gently that people don’t, usually have green hair, unless it’s a “statement”. This I actually knew, if the truth can be told. Over the last 34 years I’ve seen way too many old ladies with “green” hair. I just never took the time to find out what color it was supposed to be.

This phenomenon still entertains the huz, after 6 years together. He’s often told me that he kinda feels sorry for me that autumn isn’t the explosion of colors for me that it is for him and that Christmas decorations don’t “pop” for me like they do for him. The other day at breakfast he wondered aloud what my experience would be if, suddenly, I could see colors the way other people could. I told him that it would probably be just as dramatic as the 1st time I put on glasses in the 6th grade and everything snapped into focus for the 1st time ever, but that I was quite content not being able to see what everyone else sees.
Sure it’d make shopping for food and clothes easier and it’d be nice to have the Christmas and autumn experiences that y’all have, but I’ve made it through 34 years okay. Just don’t be surprised if, when you’ve just come from the salon, I look at your highlights a little funny.

*FYI: it also means that I have a hard time telling blue and purple, and orange and yellow apart.

1 comment:

Breenlantern said...

Thanks for this post. I've known a handful of people in my life who are color blind but there's never been any attempt to really explain what that means in terms of your perception. I'm not sure those of us not color blind will ever fully grasp what it looks like to you, but I'm kind of envious that you see hubby's goatee as green. How very cool!

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