April 5, 2000

Chuck feels that any journal entry is improved when you write about him. He seems to think he's fascinating. I live with him. I'm here to tell you: not so much. I mean he's swell and all but he has his own journal after all, so he's got ample opportunity to write about himself.

And unlike Mike who has to write about Chuck at least once an entry in order to use our server (or some such arrangement), I am not so compelled, as California is a community property state.

Anyway, the thing about Chuck is that he's color blind. Not only that, but he's color stupid. That part may just be a symptom of the whole color blind thing, but he is. Both. He can't distinguish different colors. He can't distinguish different shades of the same color. He is constantly incorrectly identifying colors. And to make matters worse, he's belligerent about it. He often identifies greens as brown. Purples as blues. Orange or pink might come across to him as red. It's not as cut and dried as I'm making it sound though. Sometimes a green thing will be identified as either brown or blue.

It's my guess that the man never actually learned his colors. It's just a guess though.

Anyway, the other day I asked Chuck to take a bunch of stuff to the cleaners. There were three piles: dry cleaning, shirts for the laundry, and a single shirt in its own pile.

First we had to debate why there were three piles. I explained that I separate out the laundry stuff vs. the dry cleaning stuff. Then I further separated it out because the lavender linen shirt gets laundered but no starch. I like light starch in the rest of the shirts.

Oy vey.

Then we had the debate that the shirts go to the cleaners so they're cleaned. Yes, they do go to the cleaners, but in fact they get laundered.

OK, this whole shirt to the laundry thing used to be a guy-only luxury in this house. I used to wash and iron my shirts. But here's the rub...the shirts never got ironed, or I had to iron before work in the morning. It is a scientific fact that an item that takes five minutes to iron in the evening will take 25 minutes to iron in the morning. And since I never know the night before what I'm going to wear, I was always stuck, already late, trying to get my stuff pressed and decent looking in time for work. So now my shirts go to the laundry too. They're always nicely ironed and on hangers waiting for the slightest whim or a full-blown fashion emergency.

But I digress.

We had to further debate the virtues of separating the laundry from the cleaning. And while I'm certain that you'd find this discussion absolutely fascinating, it was the discussion that followed that is my point.

You knew I had to have one.

The discussion that followed was the one about the lavender linen blouse. Chuck did not see any lavender blouses anywhere in the bedroom. He saw a blue blouse. Then he thought it might be gray. No, it's lavender, I stupidly argued with him. Then I tried to simplify things. Perhaps lavender is a concept he can't get his brain around. I switched tactics. I said it was pale purple. This escaped him as well. Tactical switch again. I identified it as the linen blouse.

While color perception may be a conceptual thing, fabric certainly is not. It's wool, or silk, or rayon, or linen, or cotton, or something, but it is that thing.

Well, apparently the concept of linen was beyond him as well. At this point tempers were beginning to get a little frayed.

I suggested he look at the tag. That would clearly and definitively identify the fabric in question. He found the tag. It said linen.

But the color issue was still unresolved until Chuck proclaimed the color to be schwee.

Now I'm not sure I'm spelling this color correctly.

I spent my youth attending art classes at a variety of museums and private art schools. I learned a fair amount about color. Periwinkle. Burnt umber. Ochre. Celadon. Carmine. I know them. I can identify and spell these colors. It's this schwee thing. Crayola does not offer it in either the 64 or new mega 200 pack of crayons. I does not come in the Grumbacher water colors. I've never seen it in oils or acrylics.

Chuck thinks I make these color names up.

But schwee it is. Schwee was just what it took to lighten the entire conversation.

As a P.S. to this whole conversation, when I went to the cleaners on Saturday the owner helped me carry all the stuff out to the car. By some twist of fate the lavender shirt ended up at the top of the pile. She commented that it was a beautiful shade of LAVENDER. I smiled to myself. I didn't have the heart to correct her mistake. The blouse is schwee.

Until next time...