Friday, April 8, 2011

Introducing Myself

Hi, everybody. I’m Zack, a 22-year-old student at Oregon State University who happens to be totally blind. As far as I know, I’m unique on the OSU campus,which never ceases to amaze me.
I’ve been thinking for some time now about starting a blog, nothing too formal, just a place to express myself a bit and serve as an ambassador of sorts for blind people everywhere, or at least this blind person. So here I am. A wonderful friend finally convinced me over dinner last night to take the plunge. Don’t expect any consistent subject here, I’ll write stream of consciousness as ideas strike me. I do hope to engage with anybody who might take the time to read this, so please feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to answer.
So, it’s a lovely Spring day out here, and I’m waiting for my laundry to finish in the dryer. You can expect a future post on all the hilarity surrounding clothes and me, but suffice to say I can put them in a machine much easier than I can fold them. I have no classes on Fridays this term, so will probably spend the afternoon doing homework or putting that off while I enjoy the sunshine outside--it’s only week two, after all. I’ll close for now with a question aimed at my future sighted readers. Can you describe the color chartreuse to me in a meaningful way? It came up recently somehow and has been nagging ever since. I eagerly await any answers.


  1. If you were to look chartreuse up in a dictionary, it would say something like "a light yellow-green," but that's way too weak a description, even for someone who can see those colors, because it's such an unusual color. It's arresting, and looking at it makes me feel kind of on edge. To me, some colors have the richness and comforting feeling of really good, dense fudge, some feel healthy and pleasant like fresh fruit, and some are subdued and complex, like really expensive Japanese food. Chartreuse just can't be one of those colors, to me, because it's more like the smell of plain white vinegar: it's thin and sharp, you have no choice but to notice it, and there's no mistaking it for another color. The basic color words like "red" and "blue" each describe a range of colors, but chartreuse is so specialized that it can only be chartreuse, and you can't change it too much before it has to be called a different color altogether. On its own it's bold, overwhelming and high-pitched, kind of like a very outgoing, pushy woman with a very high voice who can't realize when other people don't want to talk to her anymore.

    Because of this, it's not a very common color. It's very similar to light green, which is extremely popular and versatile - but it can never be light green. It's not the kind of color that countries use on their flags, because for a flag you want basic colors that resonate with people's emotions and are easy for first-graders to draw. You don't often see it on cars, walls or the outsides of houses.

    However, chartreuse's startling and screechy quality has the potential to make it very artistic or stylish, if used at the right time in the right way. I believe it's rather fashionable right now, actually. Of course, to make anything look fashionable you have to have plenty of self-confidence and a sense of style, but it's even more so with chartreuse because it screams "Look at me." So because it's more attention-grabbing than most colors and it's so rarely used, it can be really cool as an accent. Painting your living room walls chartreuse could work, if you have enough money, time and personal style to decorate the room flawlessly. A chartreuse camisole, scarf, handbag or so on can look really fresh next to contrasting colors, and someone who's bold could pull off a shirt, skirt or so on, if they had the right accessories and attitude. My husband's cousin is young, fashionable and extremely artistic, and when she got married, her bridesmaids wore chartreuse-colored dresses. This reflected her modern color sense and independent artistic style, and it looked wonderful on all of them. (It helped that they were all young, stylish, gorgeous and thin. Let's just say that someone forcing me to stand up in a wedding and wear a chartreuse dress would be guilty of cruelty.) So if you're listening to an audiobook and you hear that the heroine is wearing chartreuse pants, the author is making a very specific statement about her style.

  2. Incidentally, being able to identify the color chartreuse is a standard mark of fussy artistic taste, more so than being able to identify other colors - because, perhaps, it's not normal to think so much about the difference between chartreuse and light green and mustard yellow when there are so many other things in the world to think about. So, if the heroine's boyfriend says "Those are such lovely chartreuse pants" it might signify "He's into fashion or art, possibly effeminate," and if he says "What lovely yellow pants" the effect is more like "regular guy who doesn't care about girly details."

    It seems to have gotten its name from a French liqueur, but I've never tasted it so I don't know how it would relate to my perception of the color.

    And one more thing: it's the color of sprouts when they first emerge from the soil. A nice bold color for something just starting to be part of the world, I think. They turn a darker shade of green very quickly, though.

    That's probably than you ever wanted to know about chartreuse... :)