Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sorry, Monday Isn't Blue - It's Burnt Orange


A couple weeks ago I called my stepfather to wish him bon voyage for a trip he was taking up to Glacier National Park. Before hanging up, I said, “I’ll call you Sunday after next, when you get back.”

Instantly, what popped into my head when I said Sunday was not the word itself, but the image I have long held of what Sunday looks like, which is a block of pink set among another series of blocks, all differently colored, all representing days of the week, all stretching out in a kind of linear grid-like from, extending from whatever day it happens to be now into, well, infinity.

Likewise, if I think about what month it is, the image I see in my head is of a block of color that has a particular position on something I call a “year wheel,” which begins in the upper left hand corner with January (a dusky pink), and works its way down through the months (all differently colored) to form a kind of long, racetrack-shaped oval and ending with the month December, which is a block of deep blue/black.

Every letter in the alphabet also has its own color. Some of the letters even have personalities. F you have to watch pretty carefully, because it steals. And it’s too far away from the zen-like mitigating personality of M, which is too busy trying to convince N and O to take better care of themselves. Z is plotting to take over the government. L is an incessant complainer.

However, while individual letters each have their own color and personalities, that all disappears when I use them to form words. Say a word, any word, and I have a Crayola Crayon color from the box of 64 to go with it. My friends, family and colleagues? I don’t think of them necessarily in terms of their names, but their colors. Everyone’s got one.

I’ve been like this as I long as I can remember. Up until a few years ago, I didn't think much of it – I always thought everyone was like this. But then I mentioned it to a few people who all looked at me like I was a few screwdrivers short of a full tool belt and I began to worry if there was something wrong with me.

Well, not totally.

I finally found out just exactly what this thing is only a few weeks ago. I was reading a favorite perfume blob and someone left a comment saying that whenever she smelled a certain perfume, she thought of the color purple. Did any of us do this? A few comments down, another person said, “Oh, sounds like you have synesthesia.”

Which I looked up and, lo and behold, suddenly I understood myself! And my particular manifestation is nothing, Party People, compared to what some people experience. Some synesthetics can actually “feel” words. Or “smell” sounds. I don’t do any of that. (Although, sometimes my mouth feels too full of words and I have to swallow a few to make room.) And, according to most of the info I've read, this isn't anything to worry about.

Then I went to a housewarming party this weekend and started talking about synesthesia to a couple friends – pumpkin orange and lemon yellow – and it turns out pumpkin orange knew exactly what I was talking about. Not because she's synesthetic, but because she works with children who have p-r-o-b-l-e-m-s and, apparently, she told me, synesthesia is associated with particularly high functioning autistics and people with Asperger’s.

Great, I’m Jerry from Boston Legal.

How about you? What color is your Monday?

37 comments:

Doris Rose said...

Wow, that sounds so interesting.it kinda makes me a little jealous that I don't have it. Wouldn't you love to do a PET scan while thinking of different letters or people or months or days,it would be like a very beautiful pinball machine.And it sounds like a good idea for painting.hmmm
lucky you!

iamnot said...

Ok, first...you don't have to have a disorder to know that Z is trying to take over the government...that's just common sense!

As for the rest, I can't relate. I like color and see it just fine, but I'm really more of a shape, form and shadow kind of guy. This explains my love of black and white photography.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I have a dear friend, who swears she can feel color. Once walking through a store she said "come here! Feel this red." I couldn't, but I realized at that moment... she could. My Contact at my large customer swears he can see colors coming out of people. He's highly creative and holds an important position, so he's not crazy... just gifted.

My color for a Monday? Sea Green. Like beach glass.

Wow, that was awkward said...

The drugs must be really good in New Mexico.

Mandy said...

I can feel florescent lights (daggers in eyeballs), and cold weather (daggers in bones) and loud noises (screwdriver in molars) but not colors.

I want my symptoms to amount to an -esia of some sort!

Dammit.

*Turns red*

moi said...

Doris Rose: Doris is blue, Rose is of course pink. Your real name is neon fuschia.

Iamnot: You are bright white. In your real name, you would be another color.

AB: A is red, B is green. In your real name, you are deep magenta. And, it sounds like you're synesthetic, too.

WTWA: As Brett, you are bright, Midori cocktail green. As WTWA, you're a headache of colors.

moi said...

Mandy: You're green like Brett!

Wow, that was awkward said...

HEY - I resemble those remarks...

EmmaK said...

Mondays are always a very pale shade of pukey grey...how can they be anything else? One is always exhausted on Mondays. Hungover when I was younger.

Sundays are dark dreary purple for me ...I always thought that U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday was about how bloody boring sundays are. I believe it is about summat else though:)

moi said...

Emma: Despite your grey Mondays, you are nonetheless a vivid orange-yellow.

Mandy said...

Green is my favorite color.

The Big Shamu said...

Whop!

ThursdayNext said...

Sundays are golden since they are for cozy family moments. Saturdays are bright fuschia to me, and Fridays are olive green - martini olive green! Tuesdays are definitely bone white - blah and blah. Mondays are red...I get the mean reds most Mondays...

moi said...

Mandy: Mine, too. Except I WISH the heck chartreuse would go out of fashion :o)

Shamu: Shamu is yellow/green. Your real name is sunflower yellow.

Thursday: As Thursday, you are dusky-grey purple. As your real name, orange like a tangerine. And you sound synesthetic, too!

The Big Shamu said...

Well that' certainly better than my Porn Star name...

The Java Junkie said...

I always thought that F was stealing, but I couldn't prove it until now...and my Mondays are purple - the deep royal kind.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I thought Shamu WAS Shamu's Porn Star name?

K9 said...

M is a serious problem. M is for mauve. and mauve is even worse than "Maude" that giant battle axe of a woman who wore great flowing house coats over everything - bitch was anything but compromising! E needs to be stomped out for Ecru and F as you already noted is sick sick. i mean, it represents FUSHIA for crissake.

Oh my God youve got like this gray and purple aura around you! grrrrrrherhahahaha jus kidding moi

moi said...

Shamu: Which would be another riot of headachy colors. Be thankful for two syllables.

Java: You are purple, too, but more on the magenta side.

AB: I thought it was her squirrel name?

K9: K is yellow/orange. Nine is dark blue/grey. Your real name is orange like the fruit. Ooooo, I like me some fushia :o) I'm going to wear it with my purple and grey and send you photos – bwahahahahah!

K9 said...

dude im down wit orange. i loves me some orange. i look good in it too. what color is "V"?

moi said...

V is grey/blue.

iamnot said...

Ok,
White? Now I want you to know my real name so I can find out my real color.
I'm thinking mud.

The Big Shamu said...

OH snap AB, look at you, quick little jab to my chin.

Moi, what color is the current squirrel over at the Nuthatch?

NYD said...

I would love to experience the rainbow like array of your imagination and senses.

I see things mostly in black and white.

Quite often, when I meet people i get an image of some kind of cloth. Some folks are durable, homey denim others are scratchy wool and some are, ugh, nylon.


The best description of synethesia in a story can be found in Alfred Bester's 'The Stars My Destination'.
A classic work that I have read at least six times.

moi said...

Iamnot: Remember, I'm not seeing people's "auras." I'm seeing the colors that their names are. So, all the Bills in my life – whether young or old – are blue/green.

Shamu: The word "squirrel" is gold. So all them lil' forkers? Golden.

NYD: Cool! Thanks for the tip on the story! You are blue/grey by the way :o) And your cloth-sense sounds interesting. And synesthetic.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Shamu - ever hear of the Trogan Horse????

Anonymous Boxer said...

er, ahaha... how about Trojan Horse. Oh hell, I'm going over to your blog to harass you.

Short said...

Very cool blog :)

Aunty Belle said...

heh...ain't surprised. Some folks know the "sound of" blue or orange.

I seen a show a few days back --some BBC thang on how artists and composers is synastheic folks who use they insights to give us'uns such great works of art.

me and the K9 is in same color field I reckon, since I gag at mauve and all fushia gits a death sentence! I mean, really NOBODY looks good in that. And the sound of it is pure caca, as in cacophony.

What color presidency will you have?

moi said...

AB: Bad Boxer, bad. No, no, no, no no!

Short: Why, thank you! And the word "short" is colored yellow.

Aunty: And you and K9 share the same color - Orange! Only you have a touch more pink in yours. Sorry, it's just the way it is. My presidency is, of course, the Color of Money: Green, gold, and copper.

Wendy said...

Synesthesia! Who wouldn't want a condition so colorful? I think Doris Rose's idea of a PET scan isn't so far-fetched. Is there some kind of brain activity associated with synesthesia? The hell with people who think it's a p-r-o-b-l-e-m. It sounds more artistic than autistic to me.

Wicked Thistle said...

First of all, Asperger's is totally *in* this year. Secondly, your specific variance--Asspurger's--is linked to high beauty and a cute taste in shoes. In some forms, however, an extreme disrespect for squirrels is manifested.

So there you go.

Nutty Buddy said...

What's my color?

moi said...

Wendy: You are forest green!

Wicked: Yes, but what I really want to know is, who's serving up the Ass Burgers?

Nutty Buddy: Nutty is cornflower blue; Buddy is burnt sienna. Squirrel is gold.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I see decades as a series of loops going up and down and years as microcosms or little inverted v-shaped ups and down.

Glad I am not the only normally-challenged on here!

moi said...

OMG, you have Number Form Synesthesia! Whew. Welcome . . .

And . . . Poet is a lovely shade of violet blue and Laura is neon orange.

Hungry Devil Kitty said...

And Devil Kitty? What is my COLOR!!!