Trying to be Color Blind

Sage is ugly, forest is tan, and lime is ideal
By Jacob Hasler

Saturday morning Alyssa and I were walking past the bath towels at a Super Target in North Salt Lake. She held a scanner in one hand and mine with the other. I felt a bit presumptuous zapping every barcode for the things either she or I wanted. I numbed to this sensation after about the fiftieth item was added to our registry. Reaching over to touch each of the towels, we searched for a brand that was thick, soft, and inexpensive.

“What do you like?” I asked searching the long row of options.

“I don’t know,” she responded, putting one of the towels back on the shelf. “What color is this?
Does it look good?”

I paused, smiled at her and thought, “Here it goes again.”

It was only the day before when I realized color coordination in our future house would be a joint effort. We were at Bed Bath and Beyond staring down designer shower curtains hung high above us. Cloth draped down in waves of dissonant colors as we skimmed through the line.

“Jacob, come look at this one.” Alyssa held out a simple curtain, slightly transparent, with a vine of daises in a deep gold.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?” I realized that I hadn’t hid my thoughts well by this comment. There was no use in lying; I didn’t want to be stuck with this shower curtain.

“Well, I like the pattern, but it’s just an ugly color,” I told her, unable to understand why she liked it.

“Wait… it’s green, isn’t it?”

“Oh,” a grin came onto my face. Everything made sense as I tried to imagine the pattern in her favorite color: a soft lemon leaf. It looked pretty good the way she saw it.

“No Alyssa, it’s not green, it’s kind of a brown-gold, like in the sixties.”

“Oh,” she said disheartened.

We kept searching for a few minutes but finally gave up. I never thought I would be double checking everything from bedding to drapes. I’m a guy; I’m not good at that stuff. (Don’t get mad Jami, but I think gender roles come into play here.)

I thought it was weird though that Alyssa’s favorite color was green – the one she confused the most. Much of the weekend was spent trying to understand which greens “looked good.” For example, I learned that sage is ugly, forest is more of a tan, and lime is ideal. It’s the hardest thing to imagine what it’s like to be colorblind without ever experiencing that sensation yourself. It’s like seeing two completely different things and you’re taught that they’re the same. But isn’t not true for every color. She tells me that purples, greens, and yellows are the hardest to separate, but blues are easier. Evergreens look brown and the bark of some fruit trees look florescent orange as if they were sprayed with paint, at least I think.

Alyssa has tried to explain a number of times, but I can’t comprehend it yet. It’s difficult to match colors that look good to both of us. I think our house might be oddly colored at times, but that’s okay – as long as Alyssa thinks it’s good. Maybe I’ll take an interior design class next year.


Kaitlin said...

This blog is getting pretty exclusive. The last two posts are both about color, and we have two assistants (as far as I know) who are colorblind. This is worse than sexism. Oh well. I don't really care. I like color.

T & J said...

Thank you for posting this story. You made me laugh right out loud while sitting at the good ol' WC. The day you told us about color shopping was equally entertaining. Ok, warning: I'm about to get on a soap box for a second. Put this in your journal. You'll love to read it someday.
Oh yeah, I feel inclined to make some snotty remark about the sexist nature of your color comment. . .but I agree. Travis needs my help, and I admit that some things come--uh--easier for girls. Like rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, remodeling cars, shooting things, and blowing things up. And we have a sense of fashion too. I'm so glad that I'm a girl.

Air Rocky said...

Well, as an experienced color-blind expert, at least 22 years of said experience, I can reassure you that matching is over-rated. Believe me, the reason brown and blue look good is becuase they both start with "B", not because of these mysterious and compatable "hues" everyone is always talking about.

T & J said...

Dan--does Kaitlin know you posted that comment under her name?

Julie M said...

Hi, nice post. Who is Jacob?