the wrong side of the bed

Monday, September 24, 2007

sodium vapor

it was nice out when i got home from work, so i went on a short walk. it took encouragement from my friend sean who assured me that people weren't going to wonder where i was going if i set out rambling along with no goal in mind. yes, i get that no one cares about what i am doing as much as i do, but i also get that sometimes they do. the missed connections section of craigslist, for example, leads me to believe that sometimes strangers are watching. there is also the evidence that i notice other people and make snap judgments about them. while my soul mate could be out there stalking me from afar and then posting about it, it is more likely that some little troll like myself is staring at me and mumbling accusations and criticisms under her breath. despite all of this, sean was convincing and i went for a walk to nowhere.*

i'd like to say that on the way back i saw something that made my whole day seem worthwhile, but i didn't. i did see some pretty yellow leaves that reminded me of the church parking lot that i used to pass on my way to campus. it had very slick, black asphalt. the accumulation of yellow leaves, especially when it rained, made a nice contrast. when i saw these leaves and remembered the other leaves i also remembered another parking lot. when i was in high school, our parking lot had yellow lights. classes started at 7:25, but i always got to school well before that because i was compulsively early to everything when i was young. it was often just dawn when i would get to school. i loved the way the lights looked against the sky. i especially loved it if the lights went out when i was in the parking lot. sometimes i would wait in my car until they did.

when i was in elementary school, just like every other kid, i loved new boxes of crayons. crayola were the best because they weren't too soft and because they had enough pigment for the colors to be dense and vibrant. when we did chores for money, i would use mine to buy new 64 crayon boxes. my parents, my dad especially, did not like this because we always had plenty of crayons, but there is really nothing like a brand new box. i would pour the crayons out onto the floor and arrange them in different groups.** all blues, all oranges, all reds. then i would rearrange them. blue, orange, red, blue, orange, red. i would put the brightest blue next to the brightest red and the darkest blue next to the darkest red. or i would put a bright yellow with a dark purple. i would arrange yellow, green, blue, purple, red, orange. then i would move orange to the front. i would do this for hours. then i would test the colors on paper and rearrange them again. sometimes a color that looked dark was actually pale when you used it (cornflower). sometimes a pale color was much denser than it looked (periwinkle). i would spend hours determining which color was my favorite in different groups and which was my favorite overall. spring green gave me a weird, uncomfortable feeling. instead of making a crayon that color, why not just use less pressure to draw? raw sienna and burnt umber sounded more mysterious than i thought browns should. i would use up those two crayons quickly because i had to check them a lot. is it still named raw umber? is it still just brown? how can i tell which is burnt and which is raw? i didn't like warm colors much at all, and not surprisingly, the only red i could handle was a very cool magenta. i struggled with the oranges. they all looked so similar so none outshone the others. i didn't care for yellow either, but my favorite was goldenrod, even though it was named for a flower that made me sneeze. things like "green yellow" and "yellow green" made me wonder why there wasn't "red purple" or "purple blue." i think there may have been a "blue green" but no mirror "green blue." i liked the blues and purples the best. indigo was nice. midnight blue was nice. it was between the two. "midnight blue" seemed very romantic to me while indigo seemed a fuller color. i really did like indigo the best, but would try to believe and try to make myself believe and really want to believe that i liked midnight blue better. sometimes it worked and sometimes not.

i used to draw pictures of myself over and over again. i drew myself in a dress with big puffy sleeves because, like anne of green gables, i thought they were fancy. sometimes i would just draw a doll that was really a drawing of myself, but i knew it didn't look much like me so i would pretend to myself that it was trying to draw something else. instead of giving myself brown hair and peach skin and hazel eyes, i would use only the greens, for example. i would line them up from yellowest to bluest. then i would start a part of the drawing, always the hair first. when i was done with that, i would switch to the next crayon. next feature, the next crayon. i would rotate through as many times as it took. if i ended up having two things next to each other that were both in the same color then that is how it had to be because there were rules.

there isn't much point to this, but i feel like i am supposed to pull it all together into a lesson. mostly i was just thinking about the color yellow, which i have changed my opinion of since i was a child, and crayons. i guess that i could say that a friend told me to do things i enjoy, but that i have a hard time thinking of things i enjoy. the same friend also told me to make a list of things i like about myself. i said that i appreciate color and he rejected it. i'm supposed to say that i am smart or not a fuckwit or whatever. but, i enjoy colors and i am glad that i do. it is something i like in other people. no one else in my family really does. i would say that my dad is indifferent to it, my sister is confused by it, my mother is terrified of it, and my brother is accepting of it.*** honestly, my mother would live in a clear world if she could. my dad could survive equally well in a hot pink and lime home or a navy and gray one. my sister would chose to live in a monochromatic world, preferably maroon or forest green. my brother, perhaps because his wife is from san antonio and he lives in new orleans (two very brightly colored places) is the most comfortable and daring harried other than myself.

on the flip side, i think i am scared of order and uniformity. blank surfaces and empty spaces make me nervous. a navy bedspread, beige walls, a mahogany nightstand. there are not enough places to look! i could stare too long at one thing and not have something else to pull me away. i need a variety of shapes and colors to fight for my attention. i can fixate on one thing too much. i can become obsessive. look at all of my collections! when i start i can't stop. imagine having all of my focus on you. as pleasant as it may sound to have a dorotha devoted to you, it is not actually pretty. better that i should have many of you to sort through. 64 of you.

still don't know how to end this post. here.

* i came up with a reason in case anyone asked.

** i can't remember if this is my story or sean's. once, at the toy store where we worked, a little boy was playing in the vehicle section. he was putting all of the buses together. when his mom saw this she started shouting, "he's grouping! he's grouping!" which i think would have been more impressive if he weren't pulling them from a bucket of nothing but buses.

*** i get that it is weird to refer to color as an it. i mostly mean that my family doesn't think much about color, but if they did, they mostly wouldn't. but, color is not an it.

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9:12 PM


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Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:07 PM  
I love you, dorotha. reading this post made me feel almost like I was listening to you telling me a story. I miss you.

you know, I used to love going for walks for no reason, but now that I live in a commercial district I feel weird about it, like I have to be out doing something. when I see people walking around in my neighborhood I think they're on their way somewhere, not strolling for pleasure.
Blogger dr alex, at 8:17 AM  
I remember that, about the black asphalt and the yellow leaves at that church... I always enjoyed that too.

I also remember that about cornflower blue.

Remember when my bedroom was "Mermaid Treasure"? That was awesome.
Blogger Constance, at 8:40 PM  

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