The other day we were walking through a quiet neighborhood on our way to a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. Blue skies were sparring with white and grey clouds and there was a lovely light that did strange things to the colors of trees, leaves , flowers and foliage. Or at least the light did strange things to my eyes, for I am, what the ignorant, ill informed, biased, mean spirited and loud majority label as color blind.
When passing this particular tree I asked my wife ‘what color are those leaves?’.
Now this may seem a strange question or mode of conversation but it is one with which she is most familiar and, I have learned, through trial and error (especially when buying clothes) that it’s best to obtain her ‘second’ opinion before I blurt out my own.
And she replies… ‘A grey-greenish kind of color’
Oh, I say… ‘It looks more of a soft beet root color to me’
And my wife lovingly looks at me and says ‘you’re special’.
And I say to myself. She’s right… I am special. I can see colors that 92% of the people living on the earth today cannot see. I feel sorry for the rest of you… I really do.
In this light (and I must add that different types of light really mess with my color blindness… the worst for me is fluorescent)… Yes in this light (of day) my perspective, which may not be shared by anyone else, is that this tree is more beet root (like the stain it leaves on a white shirt) than grey-green.
And as I wandered up the fire track towards the Henninger Flats the notion of singular perspective or one ‘mans’ truth over another began to swirl in my head.
Its a common thread in my life that through my color blindness I must rely on others color ‘correctness’ to discover ‘the truth’ so as not be caught wearing clothing items that clash.
For example I recently discovered that my favorite hat was blue… when for many years I was convinced that it was grey? Now, when donning my cotton head warmer I do make an effort to ignore what my eyes can see and I promise that I do my utmost to convince my brain that the hat is blue. But all that effort is in vain… because… truth be told, I guess I know deep down that I’m special… and that hat will always be grey to me.
If you think about it, this type of ‘blindness’ is carried by us all, one way or another. For we see the world, or incidents, accidents relationships, quarrels, politics, the economy, God, religion and so on through our own filtered lenses.
We actually have our very own view on everything and often our mistake is thinking that others, even when they are by our side, share the same view… when in fact they have their own (distorted… if you want my opinion) view of the world.
Let me share some wisdom (that I am ever so gradually learning myself)… there is a time to share and a time to… well… shut up.
If you don’t have the ‘gift of interpretation’, are unable to explain yourself perspicuously (now that is a great word), if you lack the required ‘tribal’ story telling skills, conviction or confidence in recounting your own experiences… and or if you do encounter hostility after ‘sharing’ and are told (by that all seeing friend of yours) that you must be stupid, stupid, stupid… just quietly remind yourself that its not really his/her fault that you are in fact quite… special.